Region of Niagara municipal employees report feeling “disrespected, disappointed, and concerned,” by the municipality’s latest proposal at the bargaining table that, if accepted, would further cut workers’ buying power by as much as six per cent in year one of the agreement.
“The municipality has offered workers a less than two percent wage increase in the first year of the agreement as record high inflation devastates working people across the region,” says Judy Murray, president of CUPE 1287 and a wastewater operations clerk. “It’s a slap in the face to frontline workers who ensure that our water is safe to drink, our roads are well maintained, that child care is available to those who need it, and so much more. We have families to feed and children to provide for—the employer’s offer is simply unacceptable.”
Based on internal polling, 34 per cent of CUPE 1287 members have taken on additional employment to supplement their incomes from the Region of Niagara. The strong feeling of dissatisfaction among members is reflected in the employer’s inability to retain qualified staff and attract new talent.
Workers will be in a legal strike position effective September 24 at midnight as the union receives word that a no-board notice has been released by Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Trades, and Skills Development, triggering a countdown to a legal work stoppage.
“We’re here, ready and willing to negotiate a fair contract. We simply cannot accept a collective agreement that will put workers even further behind skyrocketing costs-of-living,” says Murray. “We call on the region to get back to the table and offer real wage improvements so that workers can focus on delivering high-quality public services that we all rely on.”
CUPE 1287 and the municipality are set to reconvene at the bargaining table on September 19 and 23.
About CUPE 1287
CUPE 1287 represents nearly 1,000 members employed by the Regional Municipality of Niagara in a range of operations including infrastructure maintenance, transportation services, water and wastewater management, social assistance programs and emergency medical services.