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Moose Jaw’s city workers, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 9, voted 91 per cent in favour of striking in a vote held at the Union Centre on October 8.  The vote follows an application from the union to the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board for conciliation after bargaining came to a halt.

The City has tabled a long list of concessions and to date has refused to discuss monetary items.  The concessions have been demanded by chief negotiator Bill Humeny, hired by the City from out of town, and they include: no increases in health and dental benefits in perpetuity; mandatory standby and adjustable scheduling; the elimination of an understudy program that trains employees for future opportunities and promotions; reduced ability for current employees to advance in the organization; and removal of working supervisors from the bargaining unit.

“These concessions would negatively impact the home and family lives of proud city workers and the residents they serve,” says Justin Mercier, vice-president of CUPE Local 9.

“People should ask if these concessions are in the best interest of Moose Jaw,” says Local 9 president Stacey Landin.  “Our employer seems to want to make it harder for city employees to do our jobs and care for our families.”

Members of Local 9, which represents both indoor and outdoor city employees, see a correlation between poor management of city infrastructure and poor management of the City’s human resources. 

“As workers, we know what needs to be done and how to do it. But our hands are tied, and management calls all the shots,” says Mercier.

Moose Jaw city employees have been without a contract since December 2014.