Kenora council turns down mediation - Municipal workers set to strike next week

    KENORA, ON, Jan. 21 /CNW Telbec/ - Members of Local 191 of the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) are set to strike on Monday, January 28.
    Members voted against a final city contract offer last week. "Our members
are extremely frustrated," said CUPE representative Jerry Lava. "They have
been without a contract for over two years and have had no wage increases
during that time even though the cost-of-living has risen 5.5 per cent since
their last raise.
    "We asked for a mediator and one was available for January 21, but
council turned down our request. I have told the city that we are able and
willing to go back to the table and work out a fair deal so that the community
will not lose the services we provide, but so far, we've heard nothing."
    In case of a strike, service losses would include city hall, sewer and
water, snow removal, garbage collection, sewage treatment, Ontario Works,
recreation centres, cemetery, and day care.
    Pickets will be set up at all facilities where CUPE 191 members work,
including Kenora and Keewatin recreation centres and King George School day
care centre.
    "One of our concerns is that the recreation centres and the arena will be
closed," Lava said. "That means the planned hockey tournaments and swim meets
will be cancelled, affecting not only the players and their families, but also
the economy of Kenora. Out-of-towners will not bring the traditional influx of
cash to the economy."
    In the 17 years that Lava has been a CUPE representative in Kenora, there
has never been a strike.
    "Our members believe that city council is not listening to their concerns
and is willing to sacrifice community services rather than ensuring our
members make up the money they have lost in the past two years."
    No talks have been scheduled at this time.

For further information:

For further information: Jerry Lava, CUPE National Representative, (807)
468-8146; Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications Representative, (416) 982-8716

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