CUPE 1978 members who work for British Columbia’s Capital Regional District (CRD) have voted 98 percent in favour of strike action as a new contract has yet to be reached with the CRD.

“In more than seven months of bargaining we have made minimal progress and our employer has been unwilling to discuss our members’ core issues,” says CUPE 1978 President Tom Benjamin. “CRD workers, like many members of our community, are facing affordability challenges. We need the CRD to take these challenges seriously and work towards real solutions that benefit both parties.”

Bargaining started in March 2022, and the two parties reached impasse in late September. Mediation dates have been set for November 9 and 10. Benjamin says the key outstanding issues are a fair wage increase that addresses the pressure of inflation, benefit increases to support worker health and mental health, and scheduling changes that protect workers’ abilities to fulfill their family commitments.

“Our members have told us loud and clear that their bargaining priorities haven’t changed. The CRD needs to engage in meaningful negotiations, and work towards a fair and reasonable contract that protects public services and supports the workers who provide them.”

Before taking any strike action essential service levels would need to be negotiated and the union would have to serve 72-hour strike notice.

“Strike action is always a last resort, and we don’t want to be in a position where community services are disrupted.”

CUPE 1978 represents approximately 1,400 members in the Greater Victoria region, including 1,000 members who work for the CRD and provide important community services for residents and businesses.