CUPE Local 108 representatives have twice requested new dates for negotiations from the employer, Halifax Regional Municipality. Both times the City has refused. Members of the Halifax outside workers’ union want to know why the City’s negotiating team and City Council are sending mixed messages and when will they agree to return to the bargaining table.
“Why ask for conciliation and then refuse to show up?” asks Todd MacPherson, CUPE representative. “Negotiations should take place at the bargaining table and the City should respect the process.”
City Councillor David Hendsbee recently told The Rick Howe show listeners that the contract issues need to be resolved “at the bargaining table”. However, in a letter sent to the union this week by the City, chief negotiator Andrea Gillis stated the City prefers the use of an “electronic package” rather than meeting with the union’s negotiations team.
“It seems that the City’s negotiators think it’s acceptable to conduct negotiations by email. That’s unacceptable treatment of the city’s 350 outside workers and a sign that the City does not take these negotiations seriously,” says Mark Cunningham, president of CUPE 108.
“In the end, it’s HRM residents that lose out. They pay their city councillors and staff to negotiate these contracts. They should get what they pay for – a fairly bargained contract for city workers, without an interruption to public services.”
Local 108 maintains its position that they prefer to reach an agreement at the bargaining table, avoiding a disruption of services that may be caused if the employer carries through with the threat of locking out employees.
“If HRM negotiators are truly serious about reaching an agreement, they will return to the bargaining table,” concludes Cunningham.
Photo: Halifax Citadel by Taber Andrew Bain, licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.