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(Owen Sound) Frustrated with contract talks so far with the City, Owen Sound municipal workers have voted 100% in favour of strike action to back their negotiating committee.

The 55 members of CUPE Local 443, which represents workers in the water, sewage, roads, parks, garbage, cemetery and more, say they are frustrated with a City negotiating team that seems intent on wrestling concessions from the workers.

Other outstanding issues in the dispute include:

  • The City reneging on a commitment that they would not try and lower the wages or benefits of former P.U.C. workers. The eight PUC workers came over to the city under a recent municipal amalgamation.

  • An employer demand for a concession to longstanding provisions for optional life insurance, which would have a major financial impact on senior employees.

  • Union request for a decent wage increase. Owen Sound fire fighters recently received a wage increase of close to 16% in a three-year deal.

Negotiators for CUPE Local 443 and the City of Owen Sound have asked for a Conciliator from the Ministry of Labour to assist them when they meet again on November 21.

In the meantime, Local 443 will be launching a strike-averting campaign with assistance from their national union. The campaign is designed to let Owen Sound residents and taxpayers know about the many services provided by CUPE workers, and to hopefully avoid any disruption in service by reaching a negotiated settlement.

For information:
Dave Barber, CUPE Local 443 Strike Committee Chair
(519) 371-3877 (h), (519) 373-7467 (Cell)
John McCracken, CUPE Communications Rep.
(416) 292-3999 (o)

opeiu 491/sem