WINDSOR, Ont. – Locals 82 and 543 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing the City of Windsor workers, will be in a legal strike or lockout position starting mid-April.
After two conciliation meetings, city representatives decided to end discussions abruptly and asked for a “No Board” report. Both parties will be meeting one last time before a provincial mediator on April 14 for Local 82, and April 17 for Local 543, with the hope of reaching a last-minute deal.
James Wood, president of Local 82, was disappointed with this outcome. “The only thing they had in mind was to freeze our wages for the next four years and take away gains we have made over the years,” said Wood. “We realize the gravity of the economic times and we have realistic expectations, but this employer will not budge. We have cooperated with the City for over fifteen years on cost saving initiatives and we have once again proposed initiatives to assist with reducing operating costs, some with potentially large savings, but they simply refused to look at them. Their attitude is irresponsible and could leave the people of Windsor with no municipal services at a time when they need it the most, said Wood.”
Jean Fox, president of Local 543, also realizes the gravity of the economic climate in Canada and especially in Windsor. “This is why CUPE is standing in defence of the collective agreement,” said Fox. “Cutting wages and benefits will do nothing to improve our economic stimulus. Reducing wages and eliminating benefits will mean households continue to amass debts, reducing the ability to spend within our community and impeding new job creation because members cannot afford to retire.”
“Windsor residents understand all too well cutting wages and benefits is not the answer, and that will become even more apparent years from now,” added Fox. “The real answer is for the administration to look at their spending for consultants, studies, campaigns, legal fees and arbitrations, which continue to cost City of Windsor taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Our fight is not just the fight of workers, but of a community standing together to maintain services and businesses. CUPE is committed not to turn our backs on this community and I believe they will not turn their backs on us.”
Local 82 will be in a strike or lockout position as of April 15, with mediation scheduled for April 14. Local 543 will be in a strike or lockout position as of April 18, and mediation is scheduled for April 17.
CUPE Local 82 represents 288 full-time and 97 part-time workers at the City of Windsor, ranging from road workers, horticulturists and pollution control operators. Local 543 represents 1400 workers, ranging from clerical to child care workers and health care providers.
- 30 -
For further information, please contact:
James Wood, President, CUPE local 82: 519- 818-0341
Jean Fox, President, CUPE local 543: 519-562-9045
Luc Tittley, CUPE Communications: 416-910-2389