The Ministry of Labour has issued a “no‑board report,” setting a strike or lockout deadline for Cornwall municipal workers of 12:01 a.m., May 17th.
The workers, who are represented by CUPE 234, CUPE 3251-01 and CUPE 5734, work for the City in “outside” jobs, at the library, and as paramedics. (Members of CUPE 1792, who work at long-term care home Glen Stor Dun Lodge, have also requested a “no-board”, but as they do not have the right to strike, their issues will be resolved by interest arbitration.)
“The City needs to get serious about negotiating a fair deal with us,” said Alison Denis, CUPE National Representative. “We’re here, and we’re ready to meet. We formally offered them every day except one, between now and the May 17th deadline. This is ample opportunity to avoid a work stoppage if they want to. We hope they take us up on the offer.”
The workers have been without a contract since 2015 (in the case of the library) and 2016 (in the case of the others). “CUPE will be ready for a strike, if that’s what’s necessary,” said Keith Sandford, CUPE National Representative. “But wouldn’t it better if the City were to come to the table prepared to put in the work necessary to avoid a strike? We are ready to bargain fair deals.”
Paramedics’ right to strike is partially limited by an essential services agreement between the parties, which is a requirement of the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act. Under the agreement signed between CUPE and the City of Cornwall, only three cars of the regular complement of nine would be on the road in a strike or lockout situation.
“Every day on the job, our members choose Cornwall,” said Denis. “They do it when they answer an ambulance call, when they help a child find a book at the library, and when they clean our parks, or repair a water main, or a road. We’d like to see the City show the same commitment to its workers and to the residents of Cornwall.”