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Cambridge, Ont. City of Cambridge workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), could be on strike on October 29, 2007 at 12:01am, over issues of fairness and respect. The workers voted 99 per cent to take strike action if a fair deal is not reached with the City.
Our members have spoken loud and clear, said Mark Charboneau, CUPE National Representative for CUPE Local 32. We work for the same employer, serve the same residents and live in the same community as other city public servants, and we expect to be treated with the same fairness and respect.
The over 165 municipal outside workers provide services such as public works, water distribution, sewer and wastewater maintenance, parks and pool maintenance, cemeteries services, arenas operations, animal control, winter roads snow plowing, sanding and salting services and others. Our members work hard and deliver these services every day to keep our communities running smoothly, said Charboneau.
We are the front-line workers who help our residents, work with local businesses and keep municipal operations running efficiently so families and children can have a better quality of life in Cambridge, said Paul Walsh, president of CUPE 32. We deliver first-rate services that residents and businesses rely on and we refuse to be treated like second class citizens in our own community.
The workers are fighting management’s concession demands, including sick leave proposals for new employees that would create a two-tier workforce. City management recently signed a new contract with another group of city workers without any concessions. We are asking the City to treat their staff with respect and fairness, continued Charboneau. We would rather be working than walking the picket lines, but we want to settle our contract without any take-aways otherwise our members are prepared to strike if necessary.
Mediation talks are scheduled for Thursday, October 25. The workers’ last contract expired on December 31, 2006. Other outstanding issues include wages and benefits.
Mark Charboneau James Chai
CUPE National Rep. CUPE Communications