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VANCOUVERCUPE BC president Barry O’Neill took time out of his tour of Vancouver civic worker picket lines today to comment on Mayor Sullivan’s statement on the Richmond labour deal. O’Neill urged Mayor Sullivan to instruct his bargainers to return to the bargaining table immediately with the intention to engage in meaningful negotiations that address issues raised by the union, like improvements for auxiliaries, job security, pay equity and retention.

I’ll say today, what I’ve said before – CUPE is always willing to negotiate and a shift in term is a positive step forward, but there is a lot more to a collective agreement than wage and term,” says O’Neill. “I’m hoping Mayor Sullivan understands now that bargaining is a genuine back and forth and includes dealing with local issues raised by our members as important to them.”

On July 18, 2007, O’Neill told The Province when asked regarding rumours that the GVRD Labour Relations Bureau was considering changing their mandate to a 5-year term, that it would be considered a “positive” step, but that “it wouldn’t be enough to cement a deal on its own.”

O’Neill denies that Mayor Sullivan has floated a five year deal at any Vancouver bargaining table.

Genuine bargaining has got to take place and that includes addressing issues like job security,” says O’Neill. “It is reasonable for us to expect that in return for security through the Olympics, for instance, job security for Vancouver’s civic workers needs to also be addressed.”

Today at 5:30 p.m., CUPE 391 library workers will be making a presentation to the Vancouver Public Library Board regarding their primary bargaining issue, the need to address pay equity, including the fact that they are paid $7 an hour less than library workers in Toronto.

Contact: Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC President, (604)340-6768
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778)229-0258