HALDIMAND – The union that represents striking County of Haldimand employees says that county allegations that workers have been offered a fair and reasonable contract are ridiculous.
“If we agreed to their offer, some workers would not receive a raise for six years,” says Josie Marchesano, the president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4700, which represents the workers. “If we agreed to this offer, many employees would make different wages for doing the same job. It is ridiculous for the county to claim that their offer is fair and reasonable.”
The union says that county workers should not be expected to bear the costs of municipal amalgamation. “County workers did not create amalgamation,” says Marchesano. “We will not allow amalgamation to be used as an excuse to strip away rights and benefits that have been negotiated over the past 25 years. CUPE is not in the business of eroding workers’ wages and benefits.”
Marchesano says that the union’s proposals are not unreasonable. “We are not asking for the moon,” says Marchesano. “We have shown a willingness to compromise in order to reach an agreement that is fair to both workers and management. We are asking for decent treatment.
“County workers live in this community and pay taxes here. The work we do is important. We provide the services that keep local businesses and communities healthy. The people who provide public services deserve decent wages and benefits and fair treatment.”
Marchesano says the county is underestimating the resolve of its employees. “Employees overwhelmingly rejected the county’s offer,” says Marchesano. “They rejected the offer because it is unfair and unreasonable.”
CUPE Local 4700 represents 160 county employees who work for community services, roads, by-law enforcement, the building department, social services, garbage collection, water and sewage, rinks and arenas and pools, child care, animal control, and the finance department.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 180,000 workers in Ontario, many of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards, utilities, and universities.
Steve Lillico, Staff Representative
Shannon McManus, Communications Officer
416-292-3999 ext. 222