THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The municipality of Greenstone is using the economic downturn to abdicate their responsibility as an employer, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing over 160 municipal workers.
“The employer is trying to shift their long term disability (LTD) financial obligations to front line workers,” says Dariusz Ornatowski, president of CUPE 3045. “Our members work hard to provide quality public services in our community and in return we expect the employer to behave responsibly, including fulfilling their financial duties to maintain the LTD plan.”
In contract talks with CUPE 3045, the municipality of Greenstone is demanding workers assume the full cost of the LTD plan, including future premium increases. “This is a negotiated benefit that’s been in our contract for years,” continued Ornatowski. “It is unacceptable for an employer to announce that they will no longer pay for a benefit that workers rely on during their time of need.”
“The employer cannot use the global economic downturn as an excuse to force workers to pay for their own LTD plan,” said Ornatowski. “All we want is a fair contract without take-aways.”
Municipal workers provide administrative, parks and recreation, arena, garbage pick-up, snow removal services and others. Their last contract expired on December 31, 2008. Conciliation talks are scheduled for July 28 and 29. The workers recently voted 86 per cent to take strike action if a fair deal is not reached with their employer.
“We are urging management and council to respect workers and work towards a negotiated contract settlement,” said Ornatowski. “We want to continue to work for the residents of our community and we want to be treated fairly.”
For further information, please contact:
Dariusz Ornatowski, CUPE 3045 President: 807-853-0527
Scott Blackhall, CUPE National Representative: 807-345-1731
James Chai, CUPE Communications: 416-292-3999