A commercial garbage strike could affect businesses and restaurants, government and public buildings, and apartment buildings and condos in Ottawa, Kanata, West Carleton, Stittsville, Gloucester, Rideau and area communities, as early as July 6, if Local 1338 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) is unable to reach a negotiated settlement with Waste Management Canada Inc, on behalf of 50 waste haulage personnel and 15 landfill operators at the Carp Road landfill site.
“Our employer is demanding a long list of contract concessions that will leave us little choice but to walk off the job to defend our contract,” said Dan Sauve, president of CUPE 1338. “We will do our best in mediation talks to prevent a strike, but if management doesn’t back away from concession demands, we could be in for a long, hot and stinky summer in the region.”
The workers collect and haul commercial garbage and recycling and run the landfill site at Carp road. A strike would affect all commercial, public and apartment buildings, and cause a backup at the landfill site, as other unionized waste collection workers will not cross the picket line and the landfill will be shutdown. The workers voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike this week, and they face a legal strike or lockout deadline of 12:01 am, Friday, July 6. Mediation talks have been scheduled for July 4.
“Essentially we’ll be looking at a mountain of trash, both commercial and residential, all because our employer wants to gouge workers and decimate their collective agreement – it’s totally unfair and unncessary,” said Andy Mele, CUPE national representative.
Concessions demanded by the employer include cuts to benefits, drastic changes to hours of work with no set schedules, weakened health and safety provisions, cuts to holidays, cuts to leave for union activities, 60-hour workweeks with no overtime pay, forced overtime, and non-union casual labour allowed to take over unionized work.
“With concessions like these, it’s hard to imagine that our employer is serious about reaching a contract settlement,” added Sauve. “A strike would also threaten the very contracts our employer has with commercial clients, as they inevitably sign up with other companies to haul their waste during a lengthy disruption in service.”
“It’s really a shame this emloyer is trying to pull a stunt like this at the height of our tourism season,” said Mele. “The last thing tourists want to see is piles of rotting garbage and vermine in the streets – it’s likely many of them won’t be coming back any time soon. That’s why we invite residents to contact local councillors and tell them to put pressure on our employer to reach a fair settlement – without a strike. All it takes is a concession-free agreement that’s reasonable and fair.”
For further information, please contact:
Andy Mele, CUPE National Representative: 613-237-0115, 613-878-4444 (cell)
Dan Sauve, CUPE 1338 President: 613-295-4230 (cell)
Guy Lavigne, CUPE 1338 (Francophone spokesperson): 819-661-7652
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communciations: 416-292-3999