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The President of CUPE British Columbia says hes profoundly disappointed in remarks made to the media by Vancouver Mayor Philip Owen at a news conference yesterday.

CUPE B.C. President Barry ONeill says he was shocked to hear of Owens bizarre accusations reported in the Vancouver media.

Clearly, Mayor Owen is trying to duck his responsibility in getting the strike resolved, and hes more interested in peddling conspiracy theories and inaccuracies, says ONeill.

At yesterdays news conference, Owen accused the unions bargaining committee of orchestrating Tuesdays rejection of a tentative settlement. Owen inaccurately claimed that the meeting time had been set at a time designed to discourage attendance and that the bargaining committee urged members to vote against the agreement.

Owens suggestion that anyone wants this strike to continue is an insult to the union, and an insult to the 4,000 workers who are into their fourth week off the job, adds ONeill.

The Mayor is well aware that when the tentative agreement was reached, his negotiators were told that ratification was far from a sure thing. The union offered several suggestions that would made this deal more palatable to the members some of which would have cost the city little or nothing. The city flatly rejected all of these ideas and told the union they could take it or leave it.

ONeill says he hopes Owen will stop aggravating the conflict and begin to play a leadership role in resolving the dispute. The Mayor has to decide if he just wants to fan the flames, if he wants to hide behind his staff, or if he wants to start working constructively to find a resolution to this strike.

If the Mayor is really interested in resolving this dispute, he should keep his half-baked theories to himself, and tell his negotiators to get back to the bargaining table.


For more information: Jim Kirk, 291-1940 or 720-7905

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