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OSHAWA, Ont. Municipal workers with the City of Oshawa rejected an offer from the City, setting the stage for a potential strike next week if a last minute deal is not worked out, said the union representing 170 outside workers.

Our members are looking for a fair contract, said Jim Lines, spokesperson for Local 250 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE). Compared to neighbouring municipalities, our members are being short-changed. We love working for the people of Oshawa, but we want to be paid fairly for our skills and experience.

Wage parity with neighbouring municipalities is the main outstanding issue. For example, some mechanics and forestry crews are paid about 10% less than their counterparts in neighbouring municipalities. The Citys 170 workers provide essential services such as roads, garbage, snow, parks, pools, and arenas maintenance. Their contract expired on March 31, 2004.

Wage equity is the main stumbling block and we are encouraged that management continues to have discussions with us to work out the issue, said Lines. Our members would rather be working than walking the picket line, but we are preparing to strike if a deal cannot be reached. We will do our best to hammer out an agreement with management to avoid a strike.

On Monday night the outside workers rejected a tentative agreement reached earlier between union negotiators and the employer. The legal strike deadline is December 2, 2004, at 12:01 a.m. Inside workers ratified their contract earlier this week, and City Council approved the agreement on Tuesday.


For further information, please contact:
Jim Lines, Spokesperson, CUPE Local 250 - 905-436-5636 ext. 2153
Linda Newman, CUPE National Rep.- 905-433-4760
James Chai, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999