REGINA, SK. - The mayor and council’s refusal to improve their contract offer to 1,700 unionized workers by one per cent has spurred civic workers to commence a full-scale strike today – the first in Regina’s history – after massively rejecting the employer’s offer at a membership meeting this morning.
“That’s not a legacy any one of these elected officials should be proud of,” says union negotiator Malcolm Matheson, “especially when we were prepared to settle for modest wage increases of only six per cent over three years and the lump sum payment. Now it’s going to cost the city much more to settle this dispute,” he said.
The three civic unions presented their “settlement deal” to the city last Thursday, stating they would agree to the city’s demand for no wage increase in 2004, if the city improved its offer to 3 per cent and 3 per cent in 2005 and 2006.
But Regina mayor Pat Fiacco and city councillors refused, stating 5 per cent over three years (0 per cent, 2 per cent and 3 per cent) and the lump sum payment of $500 was the city’s “final offer.”
At a membership meeting today, civic workers soundly rejected the city’s offer, described by union leaders as “insulting.”
Members of CUPE Local 7 and Local 21 voted 83 per cent and 81 per cent (respectively) to reject, while 90 per cent of Amalgamated Transit Union members turned thumbs down on the deal.
“This vote is a historic achievement and sends a strong statement of solidarity to the employer,” Matheson told the cheering crowd when the vote was announced at noon.
“The people in this room love the work they do for the city, but they will not be going back to work until we get a fair deal,” he stated, adding the unions are prepared to return to the table anytime, anywhere.
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Also see: http://www.reginaciviccoalition.ca/