REGINA, SK. - More than 1,700 Regina civic workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and the Amalgamated Transit Union Local (ATU) will walk-off the job tomorrow, August 31, and vote on the city’s latest contract offer. The union meeting will begin at 8 a.m. at the Centre of the Arts.
The three union negotiating committees – CUPE Local 21, CUPE Local 7 and ATU Local 588 – are recommending members reject the employer’s offer of five per cent over three years and a lump sum payment of $500, stating it’s insulting to civic workers, who had agreed to accept as little as six per cent to reach a negotiated settlement.
Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco’s comment on a radio show this morning that employees should “sober up” and accept the offer shows tremendous disrespect for CUPE and ATU members, says union negotiator Malcolm Matheson. “I was appalled to hear the mayor’s comments, but I can’t say I was surprised. We’ve witnessed the same type of attitude at the bargaining table for the past 19 months.”
The unions have been seeking the same type of pay increases as Saskatoon civic workers – 6.5 per cent over three years and a cost-of-living allowance in the final year.
But last week, after two days of marathon contract talks, the civic unions agreed to the employer’s demand for no wage increases in 2004, if the mayor and council improved their offer to 3 per cent in 2005 and 3 per cent in 2006 and the lump sum payment.
On Friday afternoon, the mayor and council showed a stunning lack of leadership by rejecting the unions’ settlement offer.
“It is up to the membership to decide where we go from here,” says Matheson, adding there will be no announcements about further job action until the ballots are counted.
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Also see: http://www.reginaciviccoalition.ca/