CUPE workers walk off job in Town of Placentia, N.L.

'Members are completely frustrated with the bargaining process': Local president
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/24/2019
labour relations
Municipal workers in the Town of Placentia, N.L. have walked off the job after 14 months of negotiations with their employer. Shutterstock

Municipal workers in the Town of Placentia, N.L. — members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1761 — have walked off the job after 14 months of negotiations with their employer.

"The decision to withdraw services was not taken lightly," says Local 1761 president Gerry Quilty. "But the members are completely frustrated with the bargaining process which has seen delay after delay, and a total lack of commitment on the part of the employer to reach an agreement."

The local has been in bargaining since May 2018 and voted 100 per cent in favour of a strike on April 17. The members were reluctant to disappoint residents who rely on town services, but they do not feel respected and enough is enough, he says.

"We know the importance of maintaining services but obviously the mayor doesn't.”

The fact that the town hired outside consultants to do its bargaining resulted in unnecessary delays, says CUPE national representative Mark Cunningham.

"In the past, we have bargained directly with town officials," he says. "And, in fact, in the last two rounds of bargaining — in 2012 and 2015 — we were able to conclude negotiations in 19 weeks or less."

CUPE 1761 represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance or water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

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