Locked out municipal employees at the Town of Holyrood are upset that Mayor Gary Goobie would portray them as being unreasonable, says Canadian Union of Public Employees National Representative Ed White. “In fact, the last offer that CUPE Local 3768 put on the table was more than reasonable,” White says. “Our counter offer of about 9 per cent would bring wages to approximately the same level as wages in Placentia, a town of comparable size with a comparable budget.
“That is what I call comparing apples to apples,” White adds, referring to recent comments by the Mayor saying that the union was comparing apples to oranges. “In fact, it was the Mayor who was comparing apples to oranges, by comparing the union’s opening position with the employer’s last position in his comments to the media.”
White says the union members are offended the Mayor would imply that they would withdraw services without giving notice. “At no point in bargaining or conciliation did the Town request that we provide a notice period prior to taking strike action,” says White. “This is a standard request that I am sure the union would have considered, and which would have given the Town ample time to put an alternate plan in place.
“It is interesting how quickly the Mayor moved to lock out the employees and contract out the work,” White adds, “especially in light of the fact that the snow clearing operations seem to have been contracted out to a company owned by the Deputy Mayor and his brother.”
White says the employees would like to apologize for any hardship the lockout will have on residents of Holyrood. “They are very dedicated to their jobs,” says White, “as was obvious during last month’s State of Emergency, which crippled other towns while Holyrood stayed open. The Mayor himself is on record praising the workers who went above and beyond to keep the roads clear and stores open during near impossible conditions. I guess this lockout is his way of saying thanks.”