TOFINO-CUPE 118 members working for the District of Tofino voted to strike on June 9 after hitting an impasse in negotiations. The CUPE 118 bargaining committee says workers deserve a fair deal with improvements to wages and working conditions.
“It is disappointing the District of Tofino is not understanding employees’ concerns,” said CUPE 118 President Stacy Watton. “We have no choice but to take a stand now to ensure the long-term sustainability of public services for the Tofino community.”
Tofino employees have been without a contract since June 1, 2020. The union hopes the District will respect employees and that a reasonable agreement can be achieved before services Tofino residents and visitors depend on are disrupted.
“Tofino employees helped support residents though difficult times over the last two years caused by COVID-19 and its economic impacts,” said Watton. “Now that the world has emerged from the pandemic and Tofino looks forward to a prosperous future, District workers need a new contract that recognizes our CUPE 118 members’ commitment to the community they and their families are a part of.”
With a clear strike mandate from members the union will meet with the employer in mediation with the BC Labour Relations Board on June 27 and 28 in attempt to resolve outstanding issues and avert a labour dispute. If unsuccessful, the union is required to serve 72-hour strike notice prior to withdrawing services.
“No one wants a strike at the beginning of Tofino’s peak tourist season, but our members can’t accept a contract that will make life more difficult for their families and harder for the District to recruit and retain staff,” said Watton. “Costs of living continues to increase, and Tofino is already an expensive place to live. All we are looking for is a new collective agreement that keeps up with rising prices and makes sure working conditions sustain good family supporting jobs.”
“We are optimistic that the District can respect our continued commitment to working with the Employer on some of these issues, outside of negotiations, and be able to reach an equitable agreement at this time. We would like to move forward with the District working together on a strong working relationship, a strong community engagement, and welcoming traveller’s from around the world to this great community,” said Watton.
The District of Tofino CUPE 118 Bargaining Unit of 30 members provide vital public services to residents and visitors. Support for the local Tofino community includes infrastructure maintenance, childcare and pre-school, municipal administration, parks and recreation, water and utilities, building inspection, by-law enforcement and protective services, and planning.