City of Windsor workers commit to work

    WINDSOR, ON, Jan. 19 /CNW Telbec/ - Locals 82 and 543 of the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing City of Windsor workers, have
been told by the employer representatives that their group asked the Ministry
of Labour to appoint a conciliator. Both bargaining units (inside and outside
workers) have been without a collective agreement since December 31, 2008.
    Jim Wood, president of local 82, was disappointed by the City's attitude.
"By asking for a conciliator, City Council and their negotiating team are now
making it possible to lock out our members in the near future," said Wood.
"This strategy is a puzzling and unconventional way of negotiating, which
leaves us guessing as to why the Corporation is acting this way after only
four meetings."
    Wood was also concerned about how this attitude from the City
representatives could affect the citizens of Windsor. "We will continue to
negotiate in good faith with the Corporation of Windsor, and commit to the
public that we will not jeopardize citizens during inclement weather to ensure
public safety, especially on roadways. Our members will continue to provide,
in an efficient and timely manner, the services people need and expect."
    Jean Fox, president of local 543, was also disappointed by the way
discussions were evolving. "In May 2008, just under 400 City Managers and
non-union professionals received salary hikes of up to 15 per cent. This was a
move approved behind closed doors by City Council. How can this same Council
instruct City negotiators to table no increases and demand concessions from
union employees when only 7 short months ago they approved huge wage increases
for high-ranking city staff?"
    Fox believes union members are not being treated fairly nor are they
appreciated for the jobs they do. Heilga Reidel, General Manager of Corporate
Services, was quoted as saying. "We certainly appreciate Windsor is facing
difficult times, but we still have a job to do. We have to recognize the
potential retirements and ensure we are paying competitive wages."
    Fox agrees that Reidel's comments should include union workers as well as
non-union. "Local 543 members are talented, educated, hard working employees
who deserve to be treated the same by City Council as non-union employees,"
said Fox.

    CUPE local 82 represents 288 full time and 97 part-time workers at the
City of Windsor, ranging from road workers to garbage collection workers.
Local 543 represents 1400 workers, ranging from clerical to child care workers
and health care providers.

For further information:

For further information: James Wood, President, CUPE local 82, (519)
252-2877; Jean Fox, President, CUPE local 543, (519) 254-3543; Luc Tittley,
CUPE communications, (416) 910-2389

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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