Ne­go­ti­a­tions stalled, job ac­tion pos­si­ble

Standard-Freeholder (Cornwall) - - NEWS - ahale@post­media.com ALAN S. HALE

Mu­nic­i­pal work­ers rep­re­sented by the Cana­dian Union of Pub­lic Em­ploy­ees pick­eted out in front of city hall on Mon­day evening while city coun­cil­lors were in­side get­ting an up­date about the on­go­ing con­tract ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Na­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tive Keith Sand­ford said ne­go­ti­a­tions have made lit­tle-to-no progress since Septem­ber, and some of the con­tracts be­ing rene­go­ti­ated have now been ex­pired for more than years.

“Some con­tracts have now gone into their third year (of be­ing ex­pired .) As far as we are con­cerned. there is still a zero on the ta­ble,” said Sand­ford in ref­er­ence the city’s coun­cil’s de­ci­sion, made pub­lic by the Stan­dard-Free holder, to push for a one-year wage freeze for 2017 in the new con­tracts. “We are not any closer than we were in Septem­ber.”

CUPE mem­bers at the Corn­wall Pub­lic Li­brary saw their con­tract ex­pire in 2015. Other CUPE mem­bers work­ing across the city in var­i­ous po­si­tions, in­clud­ing some at Glen Stor Dun Lodge and the Corn­wall/ SDG paramedics, have been work­ing un­der an ex­pired con­tract since Septem­ber or De­cem­ber of 2016.

The CUPE bar­gain­ing teams met with the city for ne­go­ti­a­tions most re­cently in Jan­uary, and the two sides are ex­pected to meet again from Feb. 20-24.

Sand­ford would not say what the stick­ing points are, be­cause he can­not talk di­rectly about what is hap­pen­ing at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble. There are sev­eral out­stand­ing is­sues though, he said, and one of them is the wage freeze.

“That is­sue hasn’ t gone any­where ,” he said.

The Stan­dard-Free holder reached out to Mayor Les­lie O’Shaugh­nessy by phone on Tues­day ask­ing for some kind of up­date on the ne­go­ti­a­tions from the city’s per­spec­tive but didn’t hear back.

Although Sand ford said there is no need for res­i­dents to worry about an im­mi­nent strike just yet, the union is be­gin­ning the early prepa­ra­tions for one. If the next round of ne­go­ti­a­tions tak­ing place this month isn’t fruit­ful ei­ther, de­ci­sions will have to be made.

“We are pre­par­ing for strike ac­tion, if nec­es­sary,” con­firmed Sand­ford. “We’ll have to talk about what we’ll do (after these ne­go­ti­a­tions) amongst the dif­fer­ent lo­cals. We’re here tonight to tell coun­cil ‘let’s get mov­ing and get this deal done.’”

ALAN S. HALE/ CORN­WALL STAN­DARD-FREEHOLDER

Mem­bers of the Cana­dian Union of Pub­lic Em­ploy­ees who work for the City of Corn­wall and their fam­i­lies rally in front of city hall on Mon­day.

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