Castlegar resident Meagan Salekin was among many who took the microphone to question the council on strike matters.

City strike lingers on

Tempers flared and emotions came through at Monday night’s council meeting.

Chris Stedile

 

Castlegar News

 

Council was well attended Monday night as many community members came out to express their discontent with the City’s handling of the ongoing strike.

After the main reports of council had been addressed a line swiftly formed behind the microphone in the centre aisle.

Among the concerns expressed by the public, almost all of them were regarding CUPE 2262 and their strike.

An emotional CUPE 2262 President Leford Lafeyette said he is sickened by the actions of this city against him.

Lafayette said, the reason he became president of CUPE 2262 was because he was harassed at work under the current administration, barring Bruno Tassone, and his goal was and still is to prevent harassment against union workers.

President of the local Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Cindy McCallum Miller was fervent in addressing the council.

“I represent workers who absolutely rely on the professional services that CUPE Local 2262 provides, especially as winter is coming in and I’m very concerned about the impasse and the fact that these workers have been out for a number of months. I guess you’ve been lucky that there hasn’t been a lot of snow, but I’m quite worried about the weather that is coming in,” she said.

“With all due respect to the comment about an offer being on the table, obviously that offer is not an acceptable offer and I look to the leadership of the city council to come forward with something to break the impasse.

“My question is are there underlying factors that are preventing the city from returning to the table?”

Chief Administrative Officer John Malcolm assured Miller that there are definitely no outside issues preventing further bargaining.

Malcolm also stated that repeatedly returning to the bargaining table is expensive.

He valued the total sessions to date to have cost close to $32,000 dollars.

Mayor Lawrence Chernoff has stated that the place to settle this dispute is not in the media or forums such as this, but in negotiations. He said, “We put a fair and reasonable offer on the table,” and he and the rest of council believe it is up to the union to present a reasonable rebuttal if they aren’t willing to accept.

Current strike issues include grievance handling, management doing bargaining unit work, job security and job loss over time.

Issues such as too many managers, contracting work out, and the union’s belief that the city does work owned by the union are indeed concerning to the union and its workers but were not raised during bargaining and according to the city are therefore not issues pertaining to this strike.

 

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