WOODSTOCK, Ont. – City of Woodstock municipal workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted to reject the latest contract proposal from management last night setting the stage for a strike or a lockout in 10 days.
“The employer’s last offer did not address the core issue of the impact of an economic boom on workloads and the higher cost of living in Woodstock,” said Linda Thurston-Neeley, CUPE national representative. “We urge management to return to the table and work out an agreement that addresses our members’ concerns, and prevent a strike.” The workers will be in a legal strike position at 12:01 am on June 22.
The Toyota Motor Company’s plan to open a new state-of the-art assembly facility in Woodstock has attracted additional investments in the local community, including the building of supplier parts and aftermarket industries that support the new plant. The Ontario government estimates 3,000 new jobs will be created locally.
“Increased economic activity in Woodstock means more demand for our members’ services and overall growth that translates into a higher cost of living,” said Thurston-Neeley. “In the past four years, Woodstock has experienced 240 per cent growth in the value of residential building permits – management needs to address and manage the impact that comes with this kind of growth.”
A strike or a lockout by the employer would affect services such as garbage collection, recycling, roads work, mechanical services for city vehicles, water services and parks. CUPE represents 50 full-time workers and additional seasonal summer students who work in the city’s public works, parks and water department. The workers’ last contract expired on December 31, 2006.
“Our members don’t want a strike – they want a fair contract that truly addresses the main issues,” said Thurston-Neeley. “Recognizing the impact our growing economy is having on workers and their ability to look after their own families can prevent a strike or lockout that will hurt our community.”
For further information, please contact:
Linda Thurston-Neeley, CUPE National Representative, 519-743-7781
James Chai, CUPE Communications, 416-292-3999