CUPE 1978, members who work for the BC Capital Regional District (CRD), voted 93 per cent in favour of strike action in a vote held yesterday (May 31).
CUPE Local President Rick Illi says that after several months of negotiations the union and the CRD have still not been able to reach a deal.
“The main outstanding issue to be negotiated is centered around benefit improvements for casual and auxiliary workers,” says Illi. “These workers are not entitled to the majority of benefits in the collective agreement so instead they earn an hourly premium. One of our main priorities in this round of negotiations is a modest increase to this hourly premium for our most vulnerable members who often don’t have job security, reliable hours or consistent schedules. To date the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Board and CRD have not been willing to seriously consider this proposal and as a result we have reached an impasse in negotiations.”
“We find it particularly troubling that both senior managers and CRD Directors recently received significant wage increases yet the CRD isn’t willing to consider this modest increase for some of it’s most vulnerable workers – that is what has led us to this strike vote,” adds Illi.
Before taking any strike action essential service levels would need to be negotiated and the union would have to serve 72‑hour strike notice.
Illi says that the union plans to file for mediation to attempt to resolve negotiations without strike action through a BC Labour Relations Board appointed mediator.
CUPE 1978 represents approximately 1,200 members in the Greater Victoria region, including 1,000 members who work for the CRD and provide important community services for residents and businesses.