Cornwall municipal workers could be on strike by mid-May

Nick Seebruch
Cornwall municipal workers could be on strike by mid-May
Kevin Drew

CORNWALL, Ontario – In a press release to local media, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) stated that members of Cornwall CUPE locals 234, 3251-01 and 5734 have asked the Ministry of Labour conciliation officer for a "no-board" report, which they say could trigger a strike once issued.

CUPE states that the unions made the request after two failed conciliation talks.

CUPE Locals 234, 3251-01 and 5734 represent workers who work for the City of Cornwall in outside jobs, for the library and the paramedics. CUPE Local 1792 has also requested a no-board report, but as that union represents Glen Stor Dun Lodge workers, they cannot strike, and their case will be sent to arbitration.

CUPE Local 3251, which represents inside workers in the City of Cornwall are waiting for a reply from the employer on a recent offer before they decide whether to request a no-board report.

Most of these union workers have been working without a contract since 2016, the library workers have been without a contract since 2015.

“Talks so far have been completely fruitless,” said CUPE National Representative Alison Denis, “and it’s time to get things moving. Perhaps a deadline will focus City minds toward resolution.”

In mid-March all CUPE Locals that are employed by the City of Cornwall voted 93 percent in favour of a strike.

“Through strong strike votes this winter our members told us clearly that they will take job action if they must, for fair working conditions and to defend the quality of public services in Cornwall,” said Keith Sandford, CUPE National Representative. “The City can help us avert that by getting serious about negotiating fair deals for the people who keep Cornwall running every day. No further dates are set, but we will be here, ready to bargain during the countdown period.”

Paramedics cannot completely go on strike due to service agreements they have with the City of Cornwall. Should a strike occur, the paramedics would have only three vehicles on the road instead of the usual nine.

Geoff Clarke, General Manager of Corporate Services for the City of Cornwall said that the city did not want to see any sort of work stoppage.

“The City would prefer that bargaining remain exclusively between the parties, and that the City remains committed to the bargaining process and is available and open for further meetings with CUPE,” he said in an emailed statement to Cornwall Seaway News. “We would also like to add the City of Cornwall does not want to see a work stoppage in any form.  Our positions remains that we are bargaining collective agreements to meet a fair balance of the needs of the taxpayers, our employees and the Corporation.”

Share this article