On Wednesday, March 14, Mayor Wendal Milne informed the labour relations board that a mediator will not be needed in Sooke, B.C. The district is refusing to participate in contract mediation with CUPE 374, the union that represents municipal workers.
The union previously requested the assistance of a mediator, after the employer indicated they were at an impasse in bargaining.
CUPE 374 President Trevor Davies says that the union is frustrated with the district and that up to this point the district has not presented any formal bargaining proposals. Davies says that there are not many issues separating the union and the district and that a mediator could help resolve these few remaining issues.
“If you don’t give mediation a try, you’re quitting before you even start. However, the mayor has made it clear that he is not interested in trying the mediation process.” says Davies. “The union is committed to taking an honest and forthright approach to bargaining, we hope the district will reconsider their position and return to the table.”
Davies also notes that mediation has been used in the past to help the parties reach an agreement.
“The union has worked with Wendal Milne in the past, prior to him becoming mayor, so I know we can work together. We hope that Mayor Milne will let a mediator come in and do what they do best, which is to help the two parties reach an agreement.”
CUPE 374 represents 22 employees in the District of Sooke who work at the municipal hall.