HALIFAX – The two CUPE locals representing striking Halifax Water employees say they are deeply disappointed with Mayor Mike Savage and his role in the dispute.
CUPE 227 President, Dave Dort says, “We got a face to face commitment from the mayor on Tuesday evening at council following our rally at Parade Square and we took him at his word.”
“A few of us had gone into council chambers and Mayor Savage asked to meet with us in the hall. That’s when he told us he was willing to look at the union’s latest pension proposal. There were several people who heard him say this.”
“We took that as a sign that they may be interested in getting back to the table and resuming contract talks. The union then contacted the Conciliation Officer to see if there was interest on Halifax Water’s part to resume talks. We were promptly informed that there was no interest whatsoever,” says Dort.
CUPE 1431 President, Heather Corkum, who represents striking inside workers, says, “So now we are left to wonder why Mayor Savage would say such a thing if he had no intention of getting Halifax Water back to the bargaining table.”
“For the mayor to continue to pretend that he’s not involved in this dispute – when everyone knows he and the three other councillors on the Halifax Water Board have four out of the seven votes on that board – is really stretching his credibility as mayor of this municipality.” The three other councillors are Russell Walker (Board Chair), Barry Dalrymple and David Hendsbee.
“It’s now becoming crystal clear to us that it’s actually Mayor Savage and his $322,000-a-year CAO, Richard Butts, who are driving this attack on pensions because they’ve got their sights set on roll-backs for the much larger HRM pension plan, with thousands of plan members in it,” says Corkum.