VANCOUVER—Contract talks have broken down between the PNE and CUPE Local 1004 workers. The close to 4,000 workers say they will not disrupt the Fair, which runs until Sept. 5.
This is the first time in decades that a collective agreement has not been reached before the start of the annual Pacific National Exhibition Fair. CUPE 1004 Business Agent Steve Varty says workers are frustrated and disappointed that a fair deal has not been settled.
“We have been without a contract since last January 1,” says Varty. “The employer has walked away from the table and at the moment there aren’t even more talks scheduled. We are weighing our options, up to and including taking a strike vote after this year’s Fair is finished.
“Management has been dragging its feet while we are out there every day making sure Vancouverites get the best and safest PNE ever,” says Varty.
The CUPE bargaining team says the outstanding issues are job security, cost of living increases to keep up with inflation and equity for the lowest paid employees, some of whom are making less than $10/hour.
CUPE employees at the PNE and Playland include ushers, ticket takers, security, bartenders, ice makers, carpenters, painters, gardeners, mechanics, plumbers, labourers, concession employees, ride technicians, ride operators, games operators, cleaners, administrative workers, parking employees and many others. They work in Playland, on the PNE site, at the Pacific Coliseum and in the other PNE buildings.