DELTA – Today, the public employees of Delta became the second group of civic workers in the Lower Mainland to register exceptionally high strike votes in response to stalled negotiations with GVRD Labour Relations Bureau, which bargains on behalf of most municipalities in the Lower Mainland. The Corporation of Delta strike vote came in at 89 per cent, with similar support from the smaller Delta Police Board.
Only three weeks ago, Vancouver’s inside civic workers voted 93.5 per cent in favour of strike action, if necessary, to get a fair contract. The votes leave the civic workers in a legal strike position for 90 days.
As part of their campaign for fairness in bargaining, employees plan to wear the Delta flag to work on shirts, lunch pails, and lanyards, with car flags being distributed next week.
They are joined in this campaign by 12,000 civic workers throughout the Lower Mainland, who last month launched a public campaign to promote fairness and prevent a disruption of civic services throughout the region. The public is encouraged to visit the website at www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca to send an e-mail message to every member of their Mayor and Council to urge them to remove concessions, return to the bargaining table with the intent to make real progress and respect civic workers with a fair contract.
“We are proud to fly the Delta flag at work,” says CUPE 454 President Darryl Robison, “because for us, they symbolize our everyday commitment to our community and pride in the services we provide. We are asking our Mayor and Council to urge GVRD bargainers to respect our contribution and negotiate a fair contract.”
Like most civic workers throughout the region, Delta’s public employees have been working without a contract since December 31, 2006 and are facing regressive take-aways, including reductions in sick leave, benefits, and vacation. This is in addition to the employer refusing to deal with the workers’ concerns, such as treatment of part time and auxiliary staff, wages and pay equity, necessary benefit improvements and shift premiums.
Most offensive of employer demands is a proposal to have the right to force an employee to visit a doctor of the employer’s choice – what CUPE 454 members are referring to as “Doctor Delta.”
“It’s really a shame that during these good economic times,“ says CUPE BC President Barry O’Neill, “that we are seeing demands to reduce employee benefits and rights. When cities prosper, their workers should prosper too. That’s fair – and only fairness can avert region-wide job action by the Lower Mainland’s 12,000 civic workers.”
CUPE 454’s bargaining committee met with the employer on only 5 occasions since October 18th 2006 in an effort to renew their contract. Rather than engaging in meaningful negotiations, the employer has forced the local into mediation with dates scheduled for Monday June 4 and Friday June 8, 2007.
CUPE Local 454 (Canadian Union of Public Employees) represents over 800 lifeguards, water workers, guards, museum workers, gardeners, inspectors, clerks, surveyors, police dispatchers and the many more professionals that work for the Corporation of Delta, Delta Police Board and the Delta Museum and Archives.
The logo in Delta’s flag has remained unchanged since it was created in 1969 by Robert Miller. The background, or heraldic “field”, is green representing the rich Delta lands. In the centre is a triangle symbolizing the Greek letter “Delta”.
For more information, please visit www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca
Contact: Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC President: 604-340-6768
Darryl Robison, President CUPE 454 (Delta): 604-943-4526
Paul Faoro, President CUPE 15 (Vancouver inside): (604)202-1829
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications: 778-229-0258
For more local contacts, please visit www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca/contacts