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City CUPE workers announce full strike action to start Nov. 8

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
November 5th, 2014

In a press release issued at noon on Wednesday, city workers announced they will be taking full strike action by the end of this week, with picket lines in place by Saturday.

“CUPE 2262 members who work for the City of Castlegar have issued 72-hour strike notice of a full withdrawal of service,” read the release. “CUPE 2262 president Leford Lafayette said that following Monday night’s presentation to city council, it is clear that elected officials are not focussed on getting back to the bargaining table and reaching a fair deal with city workers.”

This comes after several events, such as the compost give-away, the civic election all-candidates forum, and city council meetings, in which the union attempted to force the city back to the negotiating table. However, Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said, in no uncertain terms, at Monday night’s council meeting that the only way the city will continuing bargaining is through the mediator, who was originally requested by the union.

The CUPE press release indicated that this was not a satisfactory answer for the union, quoting Lafayette as saying, “We do not want to be in a position to take full-scale strike action, with disruption for residents and local businesses. But given the lack of response by our current mayor and council, we don’t feel like we have other options.”

Effective Saturday, Nov. 8 picket lines will be up at city work sites and CUPE members will be off the job.

“Key outstanding issues include job security and serious concessions that would undercut CUPE’s ability to properly represent members when disputes arise. The union has also raised concerns about the City hiring more managers and contracting out services,” the media release continued. “CUPE 2262 represents 34 members who work for the City of Castlegar. The current agreement expired in February 2013. No bargaining has taken place since a second round of mediated talks failed to find a resolution September. The union has been engaged in limited job action in the form of a ban on overtime since Aug.19, 2014.”

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