PLACENTIA – Municipal workers in the Town of Placentia, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1761, have walked off the job after 14 months of disappointing negotiations with their employer.
“The decision to withdraw services was not taken lightly,” says Local 1761 President Gerry Quilty . “But the members are completely frustrated with the bargaining process which has seen delay after delay and a total lack of commitment on the part of the employer to reach an agreement.”
The local has been in bargaining since May of 2018, and voted 100 percent in favour of strike on April 17. Quilty says the members were extremely reluctant to disappoint residents who rely on town services, but they do not feel respected and enough is enough. “We know the importance of maintaining services but obviously the mayor doesn’t,” he says.
CUPE National Representative Mark Cunningham says the fact the town hired outside consultants to do its bargaining resulted in unnecessary delays. “In the past we have bargained directly with town officials,” he says, “and in fact, in the last two rounds of bargaining — in 2012 and 2015 — we were able to conclude negotiations in 19 weeks or less.”
CUPE 1761 represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.