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Haldimand Haldimand County employees have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike March 8, if last-minute talks fail to address their contract concerns.

We have people working side-by-side making different rates of pay, says Josie Marchesano, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4700, which represents the county workers. If the county were to get its way, this unfair situation would continue for years to come. Some people would earn five dollars more than their colleagues doing the same work. We are not going to stand for it.

The members of CUPE Local 4700 voted 98.5 per cent in favour of a strike. Because of amalgamation, we have a new county, says Marchesano. The employees are working hard to make this new county work. We expect fairness in return.

The 160 members of CUPE Local 4700 work for community services, roads, by-law enforcement, the building department, social services, and the finance department. They do everything from treating water and sewage, clearing roads, garbage collection, rinks and arenas and pools, child care, and animal control.

Our demands are reasonable. The last thing we want is a strike but we are prepared to act if the county continues to ignore the wage disparities, says Marchesano.

The county cancelled talks that were scheduled for this week. The parties are expected to meet on Mar 6, 7 and 8.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 180,000 workers in Ontario, many of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards, utilities, and universities.


Steve Lillico: 416-995-5080