Trenton welcome signCUPE 281 municipal workers employed by the Town of Trenton, NS, have given their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate in a vote that was completed February 6.

A tentative agreement had been reached and the union ratified the agreement in October 2018, but Trenton town councillors refused to ratify the agreement in December at a council meeting. The agreement was negotiated by Trenton’s former Chief Administrative Officer (CAO).

In hopes of finalizing the agreement, CUPE 281 requested the assistance of a conciliator from the Department of Labour and Advanced Education. Negotiations with the conciliator took place January 30, but Trenton councillors would not ratify the tentative agreement, prompting the union to take a strike vote.

“This was a fairly negotiated agreement,” says CUPE National representative Kim Cail. “In our minds, the CAO fulfilled his job responsibilities. The council is not fulfilling theirs.”

“This is the first time in our memory that the council has ever done such a thing,” says CUPE 281 President John Campbell. “We hope that the council will reconsider and pass the collective agreement at the next meeting.”

CUPE 281 represents ten members who work for the town of Trenton in the arena and public works.