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(Halifax) The Nova Scotia Highway Workers Union (C.U.P.E. Local 1867) just served notice to negotiate on the Department of Transportation and Public Works.

In a short, but to the point, letter faxed to Ron Russell, Minister of Transportation, the Union stated that they were giving notice to request that collective bargaining begin within twenty working days.

The bargaining notice was provided to Transportation and Public Works under the direction of the collective agreement and the Highway Workers Collective Bargaining Act. This Act provides for arbitration to resolve collective bargaining disputes instead of CUPE Local 1867 having the right to strike.

The negotiating committee is hopeful, as they always are, that the parties will be able to negotiate to a successful end. Gareth Drinnan, President of CUPE Local 1867 says, it is tough negotiating from a defensive position with a hammer over your head. Drinnan says, that this government is still focused on the destruction of the public sector workplace and highway workers are no different. More and more of our work is being contracted out, just like others in the public sector. But even with an uncertain future, we will do our best to negotiate without the time consuming route to arbitration.

Last time around the membership of CUPE Local 1867 were frustrated with the length of time it took to get an agreement. August of 1999 to May of 2001 was just too long, says Drinnan.

The Union is keeping its package of proposals close to its chest until the actual exchange with Transportation and Public Works. No dates have been set to meet the employers negotiating committee.

For information:

Gareth Drinnan, President, CUPE Local 1867
(902) 832-1867 (O) - (902) 295-2241 (H)
Ken Charsley, CUPE National Representative
(902) 455-4180 (O) - (902) 826-1562 (H)