BELLEVILLE, Ont. – Management at “The Friendly City” of Belleville are failing the City’s motto with its ploy to confuse the public about proposed conciliation dates, said Helen Gibb-Gavel of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the municipality’s workers.
“Let’s be very clear: we were fully prepared to continue bargaining when we met on July 10 and go right through the weekend,” Gibb-Gavel said. “The City’s committee was not available to do so at that time due to the prior personal plans of some of their members, which is the same situation they are now turning around and bashing us about.”
CUPE 907 has sent a letter to conciliator Myrna Mann and Belleville Chief Accounting Officer Stephen Hyndman listing its objections to the City’s unfortunate decision to create the impression that the union is blocking progress on talks, despite a media blackout agreed to by both parties.
“We find it disingenuous, at this time, that the City is taking the view that we cancel our vacation time with our families to meet their needs,” Gibb-Gavel wrote. “The City has been fully aware of our bargaining members plans for vacation during the summer months but chose to propose those dates regardless.”
Gibb-Gavel noted that the union believed there was consensus on the dates exchanged for the beginning of September, and there was no further discussion at the table once dates were exchanged – until media articles this week.
“It appears that this agreement, along with the media blackout agreement, has not been honoured by the City,” Gibb-Gavel wrote. “These actions show a blatant disrespect for the process of bargaining and a lack of respect to the bargaining team and its members that they represent.”
Gibb-Gavel asserted in the letter that CUPE 907 is anxious to conclude this round of bargaining, but said that workers will not be bullied into meeting with the employer with a partial bargaining team.
“The dates we proposed in September remain the dates, as agreed previously by both parties,” Gibb-Gavel wrote, “It also remains our hope that we will be able to successfully negotiate and conclude a collective agreement.”
For more information, contact:
Helen Gibb-Gavel, CUPE National Representative, 905-242-4207
David Robbins, CUPE Communications, 613-878-1431