CUPE 2262 members who work for the City of Castlegar were joined by friends and supporters as they began picketing on Saturday morning.
CUPE 2262 president Leford Lafayette said that solidarity on the line is strong and members are solidly behind the need to take full-scale strike action in order to pressure the City to get back to the bargaining table and find a fair deal.
“We have reached out to the City to get back to the bargaining table. We think that we can find a resolution to the outstanding issues if we get back to talking. Just in the short time we have been on the line, I am hearing a lot of support for the employer getting back to bargaining and for a fair deal for City workers,” said Lafayette.
Effective Saturday, November 8 picket lines went up and CUPE members are now off the job across all City of Castlegar work sites.
Lafayette said that the September mediator’s recommendations did not offer an acceptable solution to the employer’s concessionary proposal around the union’s ability to represent members. “We had already agreed to employer proposals in terms of timelines for dealing with grievances, but the City still wants to severely limit the time available to union representatives to support members.”
He said that while the employer is downplaying the issue of job security, there is a lot of concern that as a way of managing growth the City is hiring more managers to cover work, as well as contracting out work that could be done by existing bargaining unit employees. “The union has tabled language to clarify how and when union work is done by managers. While of course, our members are concerned about jobs, we know that the City is growing and money is being spent contracting out work that could be spent on in-house services more efficiently. That is why we raised the issue of the outside contract for maintenance of the Millennium Park ponds.”
CUPE 2262 represents 34 members who work for the City of Castlegar. The current agreement expired in February 2013. No bargaining has taken place since a second round of mediated talks failed to find a resolution September. The union has been engaged in limited job action in the form of a ban on overtime since August 19, 2014.