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(Hamilton) Tension between the Transition Board for the new City of Hamilton and the union representing some 2,600 municipal employees has reached a disturbing new level.

CUPE Local 5167 is asking the Board, once again, to please be reasonable and consult with the union on issues which will have a major impact on the workforce.

Local 5167 President Gus Oliveira says, City Manager Doug Lychak continues to misrepresent the unions intentions and position to the Board.

Under the Ontario Labour Relations Act, CUPE is the exclusive bargaining agent for 2,600 unionized employees in the new City of Hamilton. Doug Lychak does not speak for these employees or negotiate on their behalf we do, says Oliveira.

Lychak appears to be the only person speaking on behalf of employees to the Transition Board, and that is a scary proposition, says the CUPE president.

Oliveira says the City Manager today continued to make false statements to the Board, stating that Local 5167 has opposed the Voluntary Early Retirement and Voluntary Exit Programs being offered to employees.

We have done nothing of the sort, says Oliveira. We have opposed the manner in which they made these offers, by suggesting to employees that they will be out of a job when the new city comes into place so they better take the package. Theyve also been told that they will have to re-apply for their own jobs.

These types of exit packages should be coming from the employer, not the Transition Board. CUPE will not oppose them if they are handled in the proper manner, adds Oliveira.

CUPE members have been told in staff meetings by management, supposedly through a direction from the Transition Board, that their jobs will be contracted out or eliminated completely. In fact, no decisions of this kind have been made.

For information:
Gus Oliveira, President, CUPE Local 5167
(905) 522-0917 (o)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(416) 292-3999 (o)

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