Wearing city flag to work to raise public awareness
VANCOUVER, April 26 /CNW/ - Today, civic workers at Vancouver city hall,
the Park Board, Ray-Cam Cooperative Association and Britannia Community
Service Centre Society voted 93.5% in favour of strike action, if necessary,
to get a fair contract. As part of their campaign for fairness, they plan to
wear the Vancouver city flag to work with over 1,000 being distributed today
and more arriving next week.
"Politicians come and go," says Paul Faoro, President of the workers that
are represented by CUPE Local 15. "We have been around for 90 years and will
proudly fly our flag to show our commitment to our city and pride in the
services we provide."
"Vancouver's legacy ought to be one of fairness and respect for its civic
workers - not demoralizing take-aways that undermine civic services," says
Faoro. "That's the message we're sending to Mayor Sullivan and Council."
Together with 12,000 civic workers throughout the Lower Mainland, CUPE 15
launched a public campaign (www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca) on Monday to
promote fairness and prevent a disruption of civic services in Vancouver and
throughout the region. The public is encouraged to visit the site to send an
e-mail message to every member of their Mayor and Council to urge them to
remove concessions, return to the bargaining table and respect civic workers
with a fair contract.
Despite being different employers, most Lower Mainland municipalities use
the bargaining services of the GVRD Labour Relations Bureau. All are
encountering employer demands for concessions and/or excessively slow or
stalled negotiations. Most are working without a contract, which expired on
December 31, 2006.
Vancouver's inside civic workers are facing some of the most regressive
take-aways and concessions, including a wage freeze for some of the lowest
paid workers, reductions in sick pay, banked time, vacation and other benefit
cuts. This is in addition to the employer refusing to deal with the workers'
concerns, such as treatment of part time and auxiliary staff and the serious
concern of contracting out and privatization of public services.
"It's really a shame that during these good economic times," says CUPE BC
President Barry O'Neill, "that we are seeing demands to freeze wages and
reduce worker benefits. When cities prosper, their workers should prosper too.
That's fair - and only fairness can avert region-wide job action by the Lower
Mainland's 12,000 civic workers."
CUPE 15's bargaining committee met with the employer on 16 occasions
since September 2006 in an effort to renew their contract. The employer
continues to demand major take-aways and significant reductions in members'
rights and benefits. At the same time they are not prepared to address any of
the workers' proposals.
The employer has tabled a 39 month term which would end on March 31,
2010, one week after the end of the Olympics and Paralympics, forcing the
union to try and negotiate a collective agreement for the year 2010, just when
all the Olympic bills are coming in.
CUPE Local 15 (Canadian Union of Public Employees) represents Vancouver's
2500 inside civic workers.
The flag of the city of Vancouver was adopted by City Council on May 17,
1983 and was designed by Robert Watt, then Director of the Vancouver Museum.
For more information, please visit www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca
For further information:
For further information: Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC President, (604)
340-6768; Paul Faoro, President, CUPE 15, (604) 879-4671, c: (604) 202-1829;
Keith Graham, Chief Negotiator, CUPE Local 15, (604) 879-4671; Diane Kalen,
CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258