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We are still in the middle of a pandemic. After a year of social distancing, lockdowns and false starts people are getting frustrated. We need this pandemic to end so that we can go on with our lives, but in order to do that we need all levels of government to do the right thing to help us bring down the number of cases so that we can safely open up again.

When COVID hit, neighbouring cities did not force any layoffs, while Welland senior management was quick to layoff many frontline municipal workers. These unnecessary layoffs included workers whose job it is to keep the public safe by ensuring businesses and public spaces were operating with proper social distancing and sanitizing practices. The City of Welland did this despite receiving money from other levels of government to maintain services, and utilize municipal workers to protect the public from COVID-19.

Now, as we enter the third wave and most residents of Welland are still awaiting vaccinations, senior management is trying to attack sick leave provisions of its municipal workforce. Doctors and public health experts have been clear that paid sick days are essential for workers and should have been expanded to all workers during the pandemic and beyond. Again, management has decided to do the opposite of what would help us in our COVID recovery and gut sick leave provisions for its municipal workforce.

We are very concerned with this direction. At a time when we should be supporting frontline workers and city services, the city administration is preparing to start a labour disruption with municipal workers over vital sick leave provisions in the middle of a pandemic. To this we say enough is enough!

City management needs to act in the interest of the residents of Welland and stop these unnecessary attacks on frontline workers. We are calling on the mayor and council to do what is right for the City of Welland, direct city management to stop their attacks on workers and negotiate a fair contract with CUPE Local 1115.   

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