City of Kawartha Lakes municipal workers united to protect public services

    LINDSAY, ON, Dec. 10 /CNW Telbec/ - Armed with strong strike votes from
both the inside workers (100 per cent) and outside workers (99 per cent), the
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 400 City of Kawartha
Lakes municipal workers, will fight to protect public services and address
issues of poor morale and unfair management practices, in upcoming contract
    "We are unanimous in our resolve to protect the future of public services
in the City of Kawartha Lakes," said Lyn Edwards, president of CUPE 855. "Many
municipal services have already been contracted out and management continues
to seek new ways to undermine front-line public workers who deliver quality
services in our communities."
    Last year, the city spent a quarter of a million dollars on a consulting
firm to study the possibility of contracting out the City's water and
wastewater treatment and operations. "Management will go to any length and
waste taxpayer dollars to seek ways to contract out public services," said
Alison Davidson, CUPE national representative. "But management refuses to
address the issue of contracting out in bargaining talks. They want to leave
the door open for future privatization."
    Union representatives requested the assistance of a provincial
conciliation officer after city representatives flatly refused to address
proposals tabled by the union. "Bargaining has been a frustrating process,"
said Davidson. "Management is only interested in discussing their issues,
while refusing to look at issues that affect workers and public services.
Based on my experience as a union negotiator, this employer is showing no
respect for the bargaining process, nor are they showing that they care or
value their employees."
    "Workers are treated unfairly and low morale is the norm," said Edwards.
"Staff members suffer from unhealthy work/life balance problems because of
mandatory overtime. On-call duties mean they are at the beck and call of
management even at three o'clock in the morning, and workers have little or no
flexibility to take time off to care for their families and children for
medical and emergency purposes."
    "It's clear to our members that management is out to erode and demoralize
our membership, continuing to push for more contracting-out of public
services," said Edwards. "It is crucial that workers have better protection
against contracting-out, because our job security is the public's service

    CUPE 855 members provide public services such as roads maintenance, snow
removal, parks, water and waste treatment, landfill, accounting,
administrative, library, customer service, by-law enforcement, social services
and others. The workers' current contract will expire on December 31, 2007.
Bargaining talks are set to resume on December 13 and 14, with conciliation
talks scheduled for January 14 and 15.

For further information:

For further information: Lyn Edwards, CUPE 855 President, (705)
878-2152; Alison Davidson, CUPE National Representative, (705) 760-5113; James
Chai, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999

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