CASTLEGAR — The CUPE Local 2262 workers who keep City of Castlegar services running are one step closer to taking job action. The Local is holding strike training for its members this week.
CUPE 2262 President Leford Lafayette says his 34 members are extremely frustrated. “Despite being in bargaining for a new contract for more than a year, City negotiators have repeatedly refused to seriously address our outstanding issues," he explains.
“So far, the City has refused to discuss concerns about loss of work, has been unwilling to take concessions off the table and has even proposed a lower wage offer than in other Kootenay communities,” says Lafayette. The two sides have met several times since the last contract expired in July 2013.
The lack of movement on the part of the employer prompted an historic strike vote on May 22 – the first ever in the union local’s 60-year history. CUPE members were also very upset when City management hand-delivered a package containing misinformation on the negotiations to employees' homes just one day after mediated talks broke down on July 15. No new talks have been scheduled.
“City management should be trying to bring the temperature down and work towards an equitable settlement with their employees,” says CUPE National Representative Lori Sutherland. “We want a fair and respectful contract so we can focus on serving the people of Castlegar - the last thing we want is a disruption to important public services.”
While the union is in a legal position to strike, it will still provide 72-hour notice before commencing any strike action.