THESSALON – Employees of the Town of Thessalon say that the town is forcing them out on strike with an aggressive attempt to roll back the workers modest wages and benefits. A strike or lockout deadline has been set for Friday, June 25 at 12:01 a.m.
The contract between the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 3 and the town expired at the end of March. The town wants to roll back wages and benefits and sick leave and eliminate job security language.
Some of us only make $9 an hour, says Troy Miller. It is beyond comprehension why the town would go after the wages and benefits of workers who work so hard for so little. There is no way we can agree to a contract that will put us in the poorhouse and threaten our jobs. We are not negotiating to go backwards.
The workers include arena and park assistants who cut grass, do landscaping, and look after arenas; a worker who acts as a bylaw enforcement officer and building inspector and a caretaker at Community Hall; an equipment operator who does infrastructure repair on everything from water lines to roads; and a general lineworker, who fixes street lights and does other electrical jobs.
You have five hardworking employees here who all do a lot of multi-tasking, says Miller. We have an efficient system. You have to ask yourself why the town council is attacking us this way and putting municipal services in jeopardy.
There are no talks scheduled between now and the strike deadline.
It is unfortunate but because of our town council, it wont be a very pretty summer in the Town of Thessalon, says Miller. Our green spaces, baseball fields, Community Hall, and other municipally-operated buildings and grounds will go uncared for during a work stoppage. We will also see problems with building inspection, water line and road maintenance, and the countless other things we do.
This is completely unnecessary, says Miller. All we are asking for is fair treatment.
For more information, please contact:
Troy Miller, Local 3 - (705) 971-4848
Shannon McManus, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999, ext. 222