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ST. CATHARINES, Ont. St. Catharines municipal workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are urging St. Catharines City Council to keep the citys new Sportsplex maintenance in public hands, after management threatened to contract out services unless the union accepted major concessions.

When management called for a meeting to look at internal solutions, the last thing we expected them to do was blackmail our members but thats exactly what they did, said Sean Soper, spokesperson for CUPE 150. We urge our mayor and council to show leadership and invest in public services contracting out will waste precious public funds on private profits.

CUPE 150, which represents the workers who maintain the citys ice rinks, first mounted a public campaign to stop privatization plans after the city issued a request for proposals for maintenance of the new Sportsplex arena. In response to public and political pressure, senior management met with the union to discuss the possibility of an internal solution. Talks broke down after management tabled a long list of concessions that would affect working conditions, rates of pay and job classifications.

We believe that management had no intention of finding an internal solution, said Soper. We are very disappointed with senior management for setting unreasonable conditions to keep our services in-house, and we are determined to fight this and warn council and the public of the dangers of privatization.

CUPE members will be in attendance at a council meeting on Monday, March 7th, when senior management is expected to make a recommendation on the maintenance contract.

This is a fight for the future of public services in St. Catharines, said Soper. Contracting out maintenance at the new arena will lead to a loss of accountability and open the door to the future privatization of other municipal services. We urge taxpayers to call on councillors to protect public services in St. Catharines.


For further information, please contact:

Sean Soper, Spokesperson, CUPE Local 150 - 905-688-5601 ext. 2161 - 905-680-1306

Frank Hilton, CUPE National Rep. - 905-641-3051

James Chai, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999 COPE 491/gpb