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PENTICTON, BC CUPE 608 in Penticton, B.C., says that Mayor Ashton is trying to provoke a dispute instead of dealing with the issue of privatization. Penticton has laid off 50 municipal workers in the past year and is now looking at privatizing the community centre.

CUPE 608 president Patti Finch says that Mayor Ashton’s comments are inappropriate and provocative. “This is really about public services for residents. The Mayor’s statements are misleading at best.”

Finch notes the union will not bargain in the media. “What we will do is stand up for public services for Penticton residents. Our members live in this community and care deeply about it.”

I have twenty-five years of experience and my head lifeguard has taken 17 courses to earn her certification,” says Shelie Best, who was the full-time aquatics coordinator at the Community Centre. “I’m glad that we have that level of expertise which provides our patrons with a high level of service and our staff with a high level of supervision and training. I’m disappointed that the Mayor is making comments without even speaking to us and with disregard for what we actually do.”

CUPE BC president Barry O’Neill says that unions are built on respect – for both their members and the public that they serve.

Seniors, young people and the whole community appreciate the services that CUPE members provide,” says O’Neill. “The Mayor is paying for a consultant/bargainer from another province to put forward his privatization agenda and Penticton’s Community Centre is first on the chopping block.”

For more information, please contact:

Patti Finch
CUPE 608 President

Vicky Smith
CUPE National Representative

Janet Szliske
CUPE Communications Representative