NELSON Locked-out city workers took a break from picket lines to celebrate Canada Day at Lakeside Park, handing out hundreds of balloons, stickers and a short story called Nelson - The Little Town that Could.
They also launched their Strong Communities Stay Public! lawn sign campaign, adorning the park and entranceway with the colourful signs. Residents took signs home to display their support for Nelsons public services.
You cant separate pride in our nation from pride in public services such as public health care and our city services, said CUPE Local 339 president Bev Lapointe. Strong public services are what keep our communities strong and part of what make us Canadian.
City workers will be visiting residents next week asking them to display the lawn signs. They have also offered to collect and replace old election lawn signs and return them to political parties. Supporters are encouraged to drop by CUPE 339s lockout headquarters at 525 Vernon St. to pick up a sign for their yard.
Residents welcomed and encouraged us, said Lapointe about community reaction to their Canada Day participation. We felt and heard strong support for us on the picket line and many encouraged us to keep up the defense of their services.
CUPE 339 also aired radio ads wishing Canada a happy birthday and characterizing Mayor Elliots lockout of Nelsons city workers as un-Canadian.
In other Canada Day festivities, city chief operating officer Norm Carruthers climbed on to the seat of the dunk tank. Lapointe lined up for a bit of fun and led the softball toss, dousing Carruthers on the first pitch. It was symbolic, she said.
CUPE 339 represents 74 city workers who, before the lockout, provided quality public services such as waste and garbage collection, transit, snow removal, road repair and maintenance, engineering, bylaw enforcement, water and sewage treatment, parks, recreation and arena maintenance, cemetery and city finance services.
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Bev Lapointe, CUPE Local 339 President, (250) 359-2996
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (604) 291-1940