CUPE 2262 has been on strike for five weeks now and they can’t believe the city is still refusing to return to the bargaining table.
At noon on Friday CUPE held a rally on their picket line outside of city hall.
Attendance was large as members from various unions gathered to show their support.
CUPE 2262 President Leford Lafayette came out to say a few words of thanks.
“First thing I’m going to say is thanks to everybody for coming out. Thanks to all the union employees. This is amazing. What’s kept us going is the support from you guys.”
Lafayette said he is very humbled by all the support from his own members as well as others.
One by one representatives from each union came to the front of the crowd to say their piece.
“It is unacceptable to have us on the picket line for over five weeks,” said Lori Sutherland, CUPE National representative.
“We need to get back to the table. We need to work out the last couple outstanding issues.”
According to those at the rally, they are past pay increases and the like and are most concerned for job security.
The President of United Steel Workers Local 480, Armindo deMedeiros was another proud and loud supporter of CUPE’s strike action.
“In Castlegar here they’re promoting respectful workplaces and corporations and then they turn around and put the union in a position where they have to take strike action. I say shame, shame on you.”
He continued, “Someone once said, ‘It’s a good day for a fight’, well City of Castlegar if you want a fight you’re gonna get one.”
MLA Katrine Conroy wished she could attend the rally but she was not in the area. Instead her husband and previous MLA Ed Conroy was present.
He was pleased to see all different unions had showed up for the event.
“The working class is being pressed more and more all the time and we’re going to have to support each other if we’re going to get through all the troubles we’re going to have in the future,” he said.
“To see everybody out like this to support each other for me is very heartwarming.”
“I just want this thing to end. I want to call on Mayor Chernoff to please get back to the bargaining table and end this thing.”
Conroy is concerned that this strike may cause a rift within the Castlegar community.
“This is still a small town and the longer this thing goes on the more divisiveness is going to come into the town and the worse it’s going to be for everybody.”
“This is a plea to get back to the bargaining table and solve this,” he finished.
Mayor Chernoff declined to give any comment on the rally. He said the city is taking this day by day and that these demonstrations are not helping with the situation.