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September 9, 2013

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Prince George civic locals deliver strong strike mandate

City’s ‘final offer’ soundly rejected by frustrated employees

PRINCE GEORGE—Prince George’s two CUPE Locals have delivered a strong strike mandate—93 percent—putting the onus back on City management to return to the negotiating table.

The strike vote, taken Thursday - Friday last week, follows the rejection by CUPE members of the City’s so-called “final offer,” tabled on August 30.

“We’ve been in bargaining all year, and all we’ve seen from the City is demands for concessions, and that’s not real bargaining. There has to be give and take—real, meaningful negotiations,” said CUPE 399 (outside workers) President Gary Campbell. “Our members want a fair and reasonable contract that recognizes the value of the services we provide everyone in Prince George.

“The rejection of the final offer, and the very strong strike vote should show City management that their approach at the table is not working the way their consultants and lawyers told them it would.”

Prince George civic workers have been without a contract since the end of 2012. The bargaining process to date has been characterized by City negotiators demanding concessions, and followed a long and expensive public relations campaign from the City to degrade the value of public services.

“We aren’t ‘just’ employees of the City of Prince George, though we are all proud to work for the public,” said CUPE 1048 (inside workers) President Janet Bigelow. “We all live here. We all pay taxes. We’re members of the community, and we contribute to it off the job too. We want to keep working and delivering the public services that help make Prince George such a great place to live and work. None of us want to take job action.”

The strike vote results were delivered to the BC Labour Relations Board this morning.

CUPE’s negotiating team is ready to return to the table and is hopeful the City is too.

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