Following an impasse in negotiations primarily over wages, the Minister of Labour has issued a “no board” report, which begins the countdown to a potential strike or lockout of Hamilton municipal workers, says CUPE Local 5167.

“We care about the services we deliver for the residents of Hamilton and we’d really rather continue working, but what the City of Hamilton is offering just isn’t good enough,” said Jay Hunter, President of CUPE Local 5167, representing roughly 3,000 inside and outside workers. “Now we have a deadline for the City to come back with a real offer, otherwise the City leaves us no choice but to take strike action.”

The gap in the wage proposals between the City and the union is the key remaining issue, says Hunter, noting the cost of living in the city and the challenges in recruiting and retaining workers when wages are not keeping pace with inflation.

“To add insult to injury, we’ve come to learn that the City has increased the wages for managers and non-union staff at a much higher rate than what our members are asking for,” says Hunter. “Clearly there’s money available to pay staff. So let’s be clear: If they’re good enough for a pay increase, so are we.”

“The residents of Hamilton recognize our work and they know we deserve better than what essentially amounts to a wage cut,” says Hunter. “It’s time we get a better offer from the City, otherwise we’re ready go on strike as of August 21 and we know the community values our work and we hope the Employer will show that they do as well.”