CASTLEGAR – CUPE Local 2262 city workers have filed 72-hour strike notice with the BC Labour Board. The 34 workers have been without a contract since February 2013. This marks the first time in 60 years that the union has been forced to a strike in its contract negotiations with the City of Castlegar.
The union will be in legal strike position on Monday. A closed union meeting is scheduled for Monday night to discuss next steps. Strike action can include everything from a ban on overtime work to a full-fledged city-wide walkout.
The strike notice comes after repeated attempts by CUPE to get city negotiators back to the bargaining table. Mediated talks broke off a month ago after the city refused to negotiate standard job security language.
The outstanding issues are a modest wage increase in line with other municipal settlements in the Kootenays and job security in the form of maintaining bargaining unit work. Despite the city’s sound financial position, the employer has refused to bargain competitive wage increases that amount to keeping pace with inflation.
CUPE local 2262 president Leford Lafayette says the union is disappointed the city has chosen confrontation over negotiation. He said that while progress had been made at the talks, the city refuses to negotiate on the union’s key issues.
“Our members live and work in the City of Castlegar and we care about our community,” said Lafayette, adding “The last thing we want is to disrupt the important city services that CUPE members provide, but at this point we have no other option.”
“We continue to call on the city to return to the table to conclude this round of bargaining with a fair and respectful collective agreement so we can all focus on what we do best - serving the people of Castlegar.”
CUPE 2262 members do a wide range of jobs to keep Castlegar a great place to live and work. CUPE members keep roads and sidewalks safe, maintain public parks and recreational facilities that families enjoy, and make sure that city services run smoothly.