Garbage strike looms in Ottawa unless Waste Management Canada drops clawbacks
OTTAWA – Businesses, light industry, apartment and condominium residents in Ottawa could face disruptions to garbage collection in as little as 17 days unless the company contracted to provide the service presents a serious contract offer, warned Dan Sauvé, president, Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 1338.
Yesterday, members of Local 1338 (representing 65 waste haulers and landfill employees) voted more than 95 per cent in favour of taking job action, if necessary, to push back crippling benefit clawbacks proposed by their employer, Waste Management Canada.
“Our members do not want to go on strike, but they sent a clear message yesterday to the employer that they will not turn their backs on decades worth of collective bargaining that helps them provide for their families now, and in their retirement years,” said Sauvé.
The union sent a letter today to local businesses and industries in Ottawa, Kanata, West Carleton, Stittsville, Gloucester, Rideau and other area communities warning them of the potential impact of a labour dispute and encouraging them to have contingency plans in place.
“We understand that people may be inconvenienced in the event of a work stoppage, and we felt it was important to let those who could be affected know the current state of negotiations so they could be prepared,” said Sauvé.
However, given the employer’s insistence on putting forward major concessions to short- and long-term disability plans, as well as dental and drug benefits, he added that it didn’t appear Waste Management was serious about negotiations.
“For a profitable corporation like Waste Management to try to strip workers – many of whom are nearing retirement – of disability plans that allow them to provide for their families when they are sick or injured is beyond the pale,” said Sauvé.
He added that the union remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement and is available to bargain at any time over the next two-and-a-half weeks.
For more information, contact:
CUPE National Representative
Tel: (613) 237-0115
Cell: (613) 816-2125
CUPE 1338 President
Tel: (613) 295-4230
CUPE 1338 Francophone Spokesperson
Tel: (819) 661-7652
Tel: (416) 821-6641