BLACK RIVER-MATHESON, ON – At an emergency council meeting Tuesday evening, the Township of Black River-Matheson voted against ending a lockout that has so far run 50 days, shocking its employees, who earlier in the day voted to ratify a tentative agreement reached on Tuesday morning.
CUPE Local 1490, representing 15 workers in the township, expressed surprise and disappointment at the news: “Our members – who live in this community – have been without pay since August 11th,” said Sonya Moffat, president of the local. “We worked hard to give the employer the flexibility they sought so we could end this lockout. We are absolutely shocked.”
CUPE negotiators were similarly dismayed: “Responsibility for this mess falls squarely on the shoulders of the mayor and councillors,” said Linda Thurston-Neeley, Regional Director for CUPE Ontario. “Let’s be clear: this council is choosing to keep people on a picket line. They are choosing to deprive the public of key services rather than ratify a tentative agreement both parties worked to achieve. They are choosing to ignore the advice of their own negotiating team. It’s mind-boggling.”
Local 1490 indicated its negotiating committee will continue to be available should the employer get serious about ending the lockout: “We are asking the Township to come to the table with whomever has the authority to negotiate a settlement that will stick,” said Moffat. “The deal we reached addressed all the issues that had been identified in talks. If there is something else, we need to hear from them directly.”
For more information:
Linda Thurston-Neeley, CUPE Ontario Regional Director: (519) 755-4358
Tammy Robinson, CUPE National Representative: (705) 971-9455 (in Timmins)
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications: (416) 738-4329