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ST. THOMAS, ON. – Frustrated with the lack of progress in negotiations with the City of St. Thomas, municipal inside and outside workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), filed for conciliation with the Ministry of Labour – setting the stage for a potential strike.

This has been a long and frustrating bargaining process,” said Dick Fleming, president of the city’s outside workers, CUPE 35. “We’ve always been able to reach an agreement without alarming the residents of St. Thomas – this is the first time we’ve filed for conciliation. We will do whatever it takes to avoid a strike but the mayor and the councillors must show leadership and provide direction to management’s negotiating team to reach a settlement.”

Conciliation talks are set to begin Sept. 20 for outside workers and Sept. 21 for inside workers. If talks fail, the city could face a strike affecting all municipal public services such as parks and recreation, pools, water testing and waste water treatment, roads maintenance, finance and administration, building inspection, social services and others. The last contract for the 45 outside and 57 inside workers expired Dec. 31, 2004. The workers have been in negotiations since November of last year. The main outstanding issues include wages, benefits and hours of work.

Our members work hard for our community,” said Jamie Brundsden, unit chair of the city’s inside workers, CUPE 841. “It’s time for management to show goodwill to our members and offer a fair contract, similar to contracts other public sector workers in St. Thomas have already received.”

For further information, please contact:

Dick Fleming
president Local 35, inside workers
(519) 637-2600

Jamie Brundsden
unit chair Local 841, outside workers
(519) 686-6050

Dave Foley
CUPE national representative
(519) 433-1753

James Chai
CUPE communications
(416) 292-3999