CUPE 855 begins strike preparations to protect public services

    LINDSAY, ON, Jan. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Faced with an unyielding employer not
willing to address issues of contracting out public services in bargaining
talks, the union representing municipal workers at the City of Kawartha Lakes
requested a 'no-board' report last night from the provincial conciliator,
triggering a countdown to a lockout or a legal strike as early as the first
week of February.
    "Management showed no flexibility on our main bargaining issues during
conciliation talks," said Lyn Edwards, president of CUPE 855. "We've been
clear from the very beginning that our members are committed to protecting the
future of public services in our community - but management is not willing to
discuss or look at ways to stem the tide of contracting out of public
services. They want to leave the door open for future privatization."
    "Management is willing to jeopardize crucial municipal services by
refusing to work towards a negotiated deal," said Edwards. "Instead, they want
to erode and demoralize our membership by continuing their practice of farming
out public services."
    Low morale, unfair management practices and unhealthy working hours are
some of the other issues facing the 400 municipal workers, who provide
municipal 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. Mediation talks are
scheduled for January 31 and February 1.
    "All we are seeking is a fair contract that will protect the future of
public services and provide healthy working conditions for us to deliver these
services," said Edwards. "But based on what we've seen in conciliation talks,
management is keen on pushing us into a strike situation."

For further information:

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

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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