Squamish municipal workers, represented by CUPE 2269, have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in a vote held last night.

“This vote demonstrates that our members are deeply concerned about the lack of progress at the bargaining table and the unwillingness of the District of Squamish to address real workplace concerns,” says CUPE 2269 President Celeste Bickford.

The Union and the District have met eight times since negotiations began in June, and in October the Union filed for mediation in hopes of finding common ground and completing this round of negotiations. The two parties met with a mediator in November, but even after four sessions, no significant progress was made.

After six months at the bargaining table, with little progress to show, the Union says it’s time for the District to get serious.

“Since the pandemic we’ve seen significant increases to the cost of living in our community, and significant changes to the way work is done. These issues affect workers every day, and both parties need to work collaboratively on solutions,” said Bickford.

Key outstanding issues include a total compensation package in line with other regional settlements, and scheduling that allows work life balance for workers and their families.

Before taking any strike action, essential service levels would need to be negotiated and the union would have to serve a 72-hour strike notice.

“We hope the District is willing to come back to the bargaining table and work towards a fair and reasonable contract that is in line with other regional agreements and that protects public services and supports the workers who provide them,” said Bickford.

CUPE 2269 members represent approximately 250 workers who provide important community services residents, businesses, and visitors in Squamish including water and wastewater services, recreation services, animal and bylaw control, landscaping and maintenance in parks, administrative support for the District and for the RCMP, and snow removal.