St. Catharines, Ontario Ongoing talks the morning of Friday, April 26th are seen as the last chance to avoid a strike by workers at the St. Catharines museum. The workers are members of CUPE Local 1287, and they are in a legal strike position now.
We are trying hard to reach a settlement, says Steve Leavitt, president of Local 1287, but after several months of bargaining with virtually no movement at all by the employer, we feel we must prepare for a strike. From the beginning, it has been like pulling teeth just to get the employer to agree to even meet with us.
In December, 2001 the union had to apply to the Ministry of Labour to appoint a conciliation officer when it became clear that the employer had little interest in negotiating a new collective agreement.
We hope the Museum Board will direct its negotiator to settle this agreement on Friday, says Leavitt. The museum is an important part of the cultural life of St. Catharines, and spring is a very busy time with many school groups coming through. We want to be at work, and all we are asking for is a fair contract.
Museum employees include gift shop workers, clerical staff, custodians and curatorial staff. The museum features a number of exhibits about local and natural history.
CUPE represents 180,000 working women and men in Ontario, many of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards and universities.
For more information and interview availability:
Steve Leavitt, President CUPE Local 1287
905.685.0001 (office) - 905.325.4855 (cell)
Andrea Addario, CUPE Communications
Jill Smyth, CUPE National Representative