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May 4, 2015

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Union hopeful that mediation will help achieve a settlement

POWELL RIVER - Powell River city workers have requested mediation in an effort to reach an agreement with the city and avoid service disruption.

“We know that the city is in good financial health and that other similar and neighbouring communities have reached agreements with their workers along the same terms that CUPE is seeking.  Given this, we are hopeful that mediation scheduled for May 14 and 15 will allow us to reach a fair agreement,” said Danielle Craigen, CUPE 798 president.

Craigen noted that CUPE has had a bargaining relationship with the city for 55 years and has been able to reach agreements without strike or lockout every round of bargaining, except one.

“The city and CUPE began bargaining in February 2014, but despite having had more than 25 days of bargaining, we still remain far apart. The union has demonstrated that we are prepared to explore issues and to look for solutions, but we need to see the employer get into a settlement zone and step back from an incredibly aggressive concessions package, particularly on key issues of fairness for part-time staff, job evaluation, and job security.”

“We are hopeful that this new council will be prepared to take its own path on bargaining, as it did on deciding not to pursue private sewage treatment which was under discussion by the previous council.”

CUPE 798 represents close to 150 members who work for the City of Powell River and provide a wide range of services to the city’s residents and businesses. The collective agreement expired in December 2012. The union took a 98 per cent strike vote on March 25. 

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