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HARRISON HOT SPRINGS – Village workers of the resort community of Harrison Hot Springs have voted 100 per cent in favour of strike action and are seeking mediation following yet another round of bargaining without movement from Village of Harrison Hot Springs management.

We’ve tried everything,” says Louise Piper, CUPE 458 President. “Just like every other dispute in this troubled workplace, we can’t expect movement from management without the help of third party – that’s why we passed a motion to head to mediation. It shouldn’t take two years to make progress at the bargaining table!”

The workers have been without a contract since December 2004. They point out that not a single workplace concern (of which there are currently 30 outstanding) has been resolved by management without involving a paid third party, wasting taxpayer’s money.

Last night, the workers voted 100 per cent in favour of empowering their bargaining committee to opt for strike in the case that progress cannot be made at mediation.

We are hoping that if Village management doesn’t want to listen to us, that at least they will listen to a mediator and the public,” says Piper.

The beleaguered workers also complain of constant unfair treatment, unjust disciplines, and harassment. They have launched a community campaign that includes ads in the local newspaper urging neighbours, friends and supporters to tell Mayor and Council that “Village workers deserve Respect.” The first ad in a series began last week in the Agassiz-Harrison Observer.

In bargaining, the Village of Harrison Hot Springs demanded 37 concessions from these 11 workers. One of those concessions is forced overtime. The workers say they are already carrying the load of a population that has grown three times bigger, with a workforce increase of only one worker. The answer, they say, is more jobs – not forced overtime.

The Village workers are urging the public and supporters to tell the Mayor and Council to:

  • Say “no” to forced overtime and “yes” to creating more local jobs.

  • Show village workers respect on the job and at the bargaining table.

  • Negotiate a fair contract for village workers now!
The public is further encouraged to show their support by placing a static-cling decal or removable stick bumper sticker on their vehicle that reads, “Village workers deserve Respect.” Anyone interested in getting one can contact Louise Piper at (604)792-4588 or <a href=”mailto:president458@shaw.ca”“>president458@shaw.ca.

CUPE 458 represents the 11 village workers who provide vital public services like water and wastewater operation, clerical work, beach maintenance, gardening and garbage pick-up for the resort community of the Village of Harrison Hot Springs.

It also represents the municipal workers of the District of Kent, District of Hope, Hope Recreation, Fraser Valley Regional District, Cultus Lake Parks Board, and the City of Chilliwack.

For more information, please visit CUPE Local 458 website: www.458.cupe.ca