Strikers receive backup

Members of several unions showed their support for CUPE 2262 at a rally on Friday.

Chris StedileCastlegar News

The usual crowd of strikers outside city hall grew many times over on Friday as workers from across the area joined to show support.

From 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU), teachers, Teck steel workers, Celgar employees and more stood in the cold to show solidarity with CUPE 2262.

President of the local Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) Cindy McCallum Miller was also in attendance and strongly believes in CUPE’s cause.

“Our union supports CUPE in trying to get them back to the table,” she said. “We’re here as individuals and representatives of our organizations.”

In addition, Miller is a delegate to the West Kootenay Labour Council and said the council “has taken a stand in support of these workers.”

“We’re here to show support and solidarity and we all decided to come at once today to show a little more visibility.”

A month has passed since CUPE 2262 began their strike and still no agreement has been reached.

While an agreement is a top priority for both sides, Mayor Lawrence Chernoff said that there has been no additional bargaining or any update on the strike status.

The strike began November 8 over issues including job security and concessions that CUPE believes would undercut their ability to properly represent members when disputes arise.

The strike quickly became a hot election topic and has since halted Winterfest as many respect the workers and would not be comfortable crossing their picket lines.

In a letter last week, CUPE Local 2262 President, Leford Lafayette urged the community keep things civil and avoid any sort of mud slinging while they work towards a fair deal.

CUPE 2262 represents 34 members who work for the City of Castlegar. The current agreement expired in February 2013. No bargaining has taken place since a second round of mediated talks failed to find a resolution in September. The union has been engaged in limited job action in the form of a ban on overtime since August 19 of this year.

This is the first legal strike the City of Castlegar workers have gone on in over 60 years.

With no sign of the City agreeing to talk, CUPE 2262 is planning another rally December 12. It is scheduled to start at noon on Friday and those at last week’s rally stated it will be a much grander showing.