BELLEVILLE, ON –/COMMUNITYWIRE/– Belleville city workers could be facing a work stoppage as early as Monday, February 22 if a deal cannot be reached between the city and Local 907 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 907) which represents over 200 of the city’s inside and outside workers.
The union and the city have met 21 times as part of the negotiations for the current contract before the city decided to undo all items the two parties had agreed to up until that point. The union requested a “no-board report” from the Ministry of Labour which was filed this morning. The filing of the no-board report triggers a 17-day countdown at which point the union can legally initiate a strike or the city can initiate a lockout.
“It really feels like we’ve had the rug pulled out from under us,” said Marc Goulet, President of CUPE Local 907 and frontline worker with the Recreation, Culture and Community Services Department. “This is not the situation we thought we’d be in at this stage. Things had been going well throughout the pandemic – I can’t say enough about how proud I am of they way our members have stepped up and taken on new and modified duties in order to keep this city running and keep residents safe – we had been negotiating for twenty-one days when the employer decided to scrap everything and put forward a completely new proposal that we simply cannot accept.”
Since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic CUPE 907 members have continued to deliver services for the residents of Belleville, with some members working from home and others adopting modified duties aimed at ensuring city facilities could remain open and that businesses and residents understood and followed the most up to date social distancing protocols.
“We know there is a deal to be found here because we were working towards that deal before the city scrapped it,” said Goulet, “we have never come to the table with unreasonable demands. As president my aim has always been to keep our members working, delivering the services that keep Belleville running and keep people safe.”
The two parties are scheduled to meet with a provincially appointed mediator on Thursday, February 18 to attempt to reach an agreement.
“I hope that when we meet with the mediator on the 18th, cooler heads will prevail and we can all pull together and negotiate a fair deal that respects the hard work our members have done,” Goulet added.
For more information:
Matthew Stella, CUPE Communications, 613-252-4377, firstname.lastname@example.org