District workers urge Council to avert strike



    DISTRICT OF LOGAN LAKE, BC, Jan. 23 /CNW/ - District workers represented
by CUPE 2587 were optimistic that after months of negotiations, their
reasonable offer for settlement was going to be accepted by Council last
night.
    "I'm disappointed to learn that management has persuaded Council to
reject our offer," says chief negotiator and CUPE national representative Tom
O'Leary. Council discussions on labour relations issues take place in camera.
    With a contract that expired in December 2007, a 100 percent strike vote
taken this week, and the employer applying for essential services, the workers
- who provide vital services from water and sewage treatment, to roads and
utilities, to recreation services - could be in a legal position to strike as
early as this weekend.
    An experienced union negotiator, O'Leary is surprised at some of the
conduct by management during negotiations. He is particularly offended that
district management told him that if the union accepted the district's
regionally inferior wage offer of 11% over 4 years, the District would not
contract-out the community's Recreation Centre to private interests.
    "Public services are not something you trade-off to get your way. This
isn't poker," says O'Leary. "They belong to the public and it is the public
that should decide if their recreation services will continue to be publicly
provided."
    CUPE 2587's offer for settlement was for a 12% wage increase over 4 years
plus a 1% a year income allowance to ensure that for the duration of the
contract district workers' total compensation is competitive, addresses
recruitment and retention concerns, and is reflective of the current regional
labour market.
    The income allowance is also a way to compensate for the fact that
management refused in negotiations to agree to any of the benefit improvements
the workers were seeking, with the exception of a meagre $25 increase to the
boot allowance.
    "When a community prospers, the workers should too," says O'Leary. "Logan
Lake's district workers live where they work. A fair contract for them can
only uplift the entire community."
    O'Leary is hoping Council can reconsider their decision before the union
is forced to take strike action to achieve a fair contract.





For further information:

For further information: Tom O'Leary, CUPE national representative,
(250) 862-6131; Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258,
www.cupe.bc.ca

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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