Strike looms at City of Hamilton over two-tier employment

    HAMILTON, ON Jan. 3 /CNW Telbec/ - City of Hamilton workers, represented
by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), are preparing to take strike
action over two-tier employment if a fair deal is not reached with City
management in upcoming mediation talks.
    "We are seeking a fair deal that respects all municipal workers," said
Derron Vernon, president of CUPE 5167. "Management wants to continue to
discriminate against casual workers, denying them the same rights and benefits
as their full-time colleagues - we are determined to end this unacceptable
    The City wants to double the hiring of casual workers from the current
10 per cent to 20 per cent of the 2,700 municipal workforce. Management treats
'casual' workers as second-class citizens, even though some of them have over
six years of service.
    "We are hoping the New Year will bring a new attitude from city
management to help resolve the two-tier issue," said Vernon. "Nobody wants a
strike to kick off 2008, but if management makes no effort to address this
issue of inequality, municipal services could be affected by a strike later
this month."
    Since late December, the workers have been in a legal strike or lockout
position which means the union can call a strike or management can lock the
workers out at any time. Mediation talks are planned for January 7, 8, 9, 15
and 16. The workers' last contract expired on December 31, 2006. Other
outstanding issues include wages and benefits.

For further information:

For further information: Derron Vernon, President CUPE 5167, (905)
517-0448 cell; Andrew Hunter, CUPE National Rep., (905) 575-5411, (905)
531-7599 cell; James Chai, CUPE Communications, (416) 292-3999

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