Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Vancouver Strike

There follows two excerpts from articles and a news release from CUPE. The first article is from the
I am not sure why Sullivan would claim that the strike is not his main priority since it will be a disaster for Vancouver. I suppose it is to show that he is standing firm under pressure! There is a difference between standing firm and being stupid. The tentative settlement in Richmond just next door should exert more pressure for Sullivan to settle. Finally there is a news release from CUPE urging the city to go back to the bargaining table.


Labour crisis compounded by a stubborn Sullivan, critics say

July 25, 2007

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan's refusal to give priority status to solving the municipal strike of more than 5,000 workers is exacerbating the city's labour crisis and making a resolution unlikely any time soon, say opposition councillors, union leaders and a former mayor.

On Monday, the mayor told The Globe and Mail that solving the civic strike was not his top priority.


Richmond reaches tentative deal with workers
By Glenn Bohn, Vancouver Sun
Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2007
A five-year contract negotiated between the City of Richmond and its unionized staff will put pressure on Vancouver to find a solution to its labour situation, says an expert.

"Someone is going to have to find another rationale for not sticking to the 39 months," said Norman Ruff, a retired political science professor.

The City of Richmond and 1,250 employees represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees reached a tentative agreement today, averting the kind of civic strike now underway in Vancouver and North Vancouver district.

****Mayor Malcolm Brodie said management and union negotiators concluded the draft deal Monday but both parties are not releasing details until the proposed contract goes to union members Wednesday and Thursday for a ratification vote.

Vancouver urged to “bargain, not bully” as final offer rejected by CUPE 15
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Union calls city of Vancouver to table tomorrow –10:30 a.m. at 545 West 10th Ave

VANCOUVER – Today, the 2,500 civic workers at Vancouver City Hall, Park Board, Ray-Cam Cooperative Association and Britannia Community Services Society overwhelmingly rejected what the City of Vancouver is calling their “final offer” by 89 per cent. As a last resort, the Local representing the workers, CUPE 15, will be issuing 72-hour strike notice tomorrow morning at 8:00 a.m.

CUPE 15 is also calling on the City of Vancouver to avert a city and escalating region-wide strike by going back to the table to negotiate, booking their meeting rooms at 545 West 10th Avenue in Vancouver at 10:30 a.m. for that purpose.

“We’re not surprised,” says Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 President, of the final offer vote results. “It shows the degree to which civic workers are aghast at the City of Vancouver and Bureau’s total refusal to engage in legitimate bargaining and sends a clear message to the City that they need to get back to the bargaining table.”

“We are always ready to negotiate,” says Faoro. “The difficulty is the City of Vancouver has refused to bargain from day one. They only want to impose and dictate their mandate, completely ignoring the concerns of city employees.”

Vancouver inside workers are seeking to improve treatment of part-time and auxiliary staff, address the serious concern of contracting out and privatization of public civic services, equal vacation time with non-union staff, and a fair wage proposal. None of these issues have been addressed by the employer at the bargaining table. Rather a number of invasive management rights and take-aways are being demanded of the workers.

Faoro points to a troubling pattern in Lower Mainland civic bargaining where employers with the direction of the GVRD Labour Relations Bureau (“Bureau”) refuse to make progress at municipal bargaining tables, force mediation, impose final offer votes and ultimately force workers on strike, potentially causing mass disruptions in vital civic services.

“We’re asking the City to bargain, not bully,” says Faoro. “If the City arrives at the table tomorrow with the intention to bargain, then a fair contract should be easily achievable.”

Like most Lower Mainland civic contracts, CUPE 15’s collective agreement expired over 6 months ago. Delta civic workers represented by CUPE 454 also voted down a final offer vote imposed on them by their employer along with the Bureau.

Contact: Paul Faoro, CUPE 15 President, (604) 202-1829

Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258

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