SURREY – First came Richmond, then Delta, then Burnaby and now Surrey –
CUPE 402’s civic bargaining committee have just signed a tentative agreement with the City of Surrey, one of three Lower Mainland municipalities that bargains directly with its employees, rather than paying for the services of the controversial GVRD Labour Relations Bureau.
CUPE 402 is recommending ratification of the settlement to their members and holding a vote on August 7, 2007. City Council is also expected to hold their vote shortly.
“We are very pleased with the agreement we have reached with our employer,” says Laurie Larson, CUPE 402 president. “I’d characterize these negotiations as honourable and respectful and that was key to reaching a deal that was beneficial to both parties and our community.”
The union will not be releasing details of the agreement until after member ratification has taken place, but Larsen is willing to say that the deal “builds upon” agreements reached in Richmond, Delta and Burnaby.
“The difference between communities where we have settlements and those where we have strikes is that the employer has come to the bargaining table with a genuine desire to bargain,” says CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill. “In Vancouver, the city is so busy scheming with their spin-doctors on how to paint their civic workers in a negative light that they can’t wrap their heads around bargaining, let alone get to a table.”
O’Neill is referring to the constant media spin out of the City of Vancouver, developed by their high-priced corporate communications consultants The Wilcox Group. He cites as an example, today’s city press conference accusing a group of CUPE female picketers of assaulting a pregnant woman, when the police had done an investigation the day before and determined there were no grounds to lay charges.
CUPE 402 represents 1,700 full-time and part-time Surrey city workers.
Laurie Larsen, CUPE 402 President, c: 604-230-3757
Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC President, c: 604-340-6768
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, c: 778-229-0258