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December 9, 2013

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City workers issue strike notice

PRINCE GEORGE – Prince George municipal workers have issued 72-hour strike notice and are gearing up for job action according to CUPE 399 and 1048 presidents Gary Campbell and Janet Bigelow.

“After months of negotiations the City is still refusing to adjust their mandate. This is our last option,” said CUPE 399 president Gary Campbell. “Throughout this process the City has continuously disrespected front line workers while still being able to find funding for numerous new projects and for hiring new staff. City workers are extremely frustrated and while no one wants to go on strike we’re prepared to stand up for a fair and reasonable contract.”

In late November CUPE 399 and 1048 members overwhelmingly rejected the City’s last offer which provided no wage increases in the first two years of the contract.

CUPE 1048 president Janet Bigelow said that essential service talks over the weekend showed that the City is still not prepared to work with the union to reach any agreement.

“During both bargaining and essential service talks the city has remained focused on continuing this labour dispute rather than working towards reaching a fair and reasonable agreement,” said Bigelow. “We have been attempting to work out essential services for months but the city has refused to engage in any meaningful discussions with the union.”

“The City has a bargaining team of experienced managers and their chief negotiator is a high-profile lawyer from Vancouver,” added Bigelow. “Taxpayers should be concerned that the longer this dispute goes on the more this lawyer gets paid. It’s time for the city to get serious about resolving this dispute”

Bigelow said that since the union has now issued 72-hour notice the BC Labour Relations Board could issue an interim essential services designation until a final decision can be made and this would allow job action to occur without any delay.  

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