AURORA - Angry municipal workers will picket the Town of Aurora council meeting tonight to protest a town policy that stipulates that outside workers be paid at least 10 per cent less than workers in Richmond Hill and Newmarket. Municipal employees from across York Region will also participate in the information picket, which will take place:
Tuesday, May 18
Aurora Town Hall
100 John West Way
The workers say they found out about the policy at the bargaining table. We were shocked to find out that this policy exists, says Charlie Goodwin, a municipal worker and chairperson of the Aurora Unit of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 905, which represents the workers. It really offends us that Aurora seems to have no problem giving hefty increases to city managers and councillors but singles out people who have to do hard physical work for bottom of the barrel wages. It is clear discrimination against Auroras hard-working outside workers.
The union says the policy is rigged. The policy not only directs that we are to be paid 10 per cent less than the average in the region, says Goodwin. It is rigged to ensure our wages will be substantially lower because it does not include big players like the Region and Vaughan.
Auroras 33 full-time and 10 seasonal outside workers maintain the parks, pools, and arenas, repair infrastructure such as roads, water mains and sewers and plough the snow in the winter. We have tough physical jobs and we are expected to be a jack of all trades, says Goodwin. We have a high turnover here because of the poor remuneration. The town has been relying on a small core of dedicated workers who have been sticking it out year after year. The discovery of this policy may change all that.
We work every bit as hard as workers in other places and many of them are not asked to perform such a wide variety of jobs. We are calling upon the town to get rid of the policy now and make up for years of discriminatory wages.
CUPE Local 905 has been at the bargaining table attempting to bargain a new contract with the Town of Aurora. A strike-lockout deadline has been set for May 24.
For more information, please contact:
(905) 717-9682 (pager)
(416) 292-3999, ext. 222