PLACENTIA – Striking municipal workers in Placentia, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1761, were buoyed by a visit from CUPE Newfoundland Labrador President Sherry Hillier this morning.
“I am proud to stand with these hard-working members who did everything in their power to avoid withdrawing services,” Hillier says. “But when an employer won’t sit down and bargain, and then sends in hired consultants to further delay the process, the members felt they had no choice. This seemed to be the only way to get the employer back to the table.”
The local made the decision to withdraw services a few days before the mayor suggested a meeting on July 18, says CUPE Local 1761 President Gerry Quilty. “We would have been happy to meet before our chosen strike date of July 16, but the employer indicated once again they were not available. This is just one more example of how the employer refuses to take the bargaining process seriously.”
After more than 14 months of drawn-out negotiations there has been little or no progress on issues surrounding working conditions, such as scheduling, says Quilty. “For example, they have yet to explain how a proposed seven-day work schedule for public works will impact a department that has only five employees.”
The issue of wages has also not been resolved. “We are appalled at the zero wage increase being offered by the town,” says Quilty. “A zero wage increase is basically a pay cut. Our members go above and beyond to deliver quality services to the residents of Placentia, and they deserve better.”