No movement in impasse between city and union workers
The impasse between the City of Castlegar and its union workers seems as relentless as ever today, after the second day of labour action.
While not fully on strike per se, CUPE 2262 has issued a ban on overtime work as a first step after issuing 72-hour strike action notice on Friday, Aug. 15.
Chris Barlow, city director of Transportation and Public Works, said the ball is in the union’s court.
“We’ve come to a point where both sides are so close. We issued a final offer, and we’ve had no reply to it,” Barlow said, adding the union has one of three choices: accept, refuse, or counter-offer.
He said the union has declined to reply, leaving the city with essentially no course of action.
City CAO John Malcolm said he’d consider a counter-offer, were one offered … but if the union refuses the city’s final offer, there would be little point in going back to the table, as negotiations have already extended past the one-year mark.
Meanwhile, CUPE 2262 president Leford Lafayette said the union responded verbally at the table, arguing the city hasn’t addressed their primary concerns, which include job security, what he called “modest wage increases”, and the removal of concessions from the table.
“We’re willing to go back to the table if the employer removes the preconditions to our doing so,” he said, reinforcing a message he sent at city council’s regular meeting on Aug.11, using Question Period to ask the city to return to negotiations. He said there will be a meeting tomorrow (Thursday) to discuss next steps in the process.
Meanwhile, Murray Bush, CUPE national communications representative, said demanding one of three responses to a final offer is not the same thing as sitting at a table and negotiating in good faith.
“A negotiation needs for both sides to be at the table,” he said.
Malcolm said the city is not, at this time, largely ill-effected by the ban on over-time work, given the requirements of the summer season.