“Mayor Sullivan must show leadership and immediately order the City’s management to get back to the bargaining table with civic workers,” said COPE Cllr David Cadman. “Instead Sullivan has shown little but rigidity, inflexibility and an unwillingness to meet with his own workers. And it is largely because of that inflexibility that Vancouver’s community centres and pools are closed, our garbage is no longer being picked up, and libraries are shut.”
Park Board Commissioners Spencer Herbert and Loretta Woodcock, and COPE School Trustee Al Blakey are also calling for Sullivan to resume bargaining with striking civic unions.
“Community Centres and pools are closed and special events in parks will be
disrupted because Mayor Sullivan is unwilling to negotiate,” said Commissioner Herbert. “Our workers say they’re willing to sit down and negotiate, but Sullivan is saying no to discussion. He is saying no to community services.”
Commissioner Woodcock noted that a summer strike will impact heavily on thousands of
families who rely on day camps and other Park Board programs.
“Many parents have already had to scramble to find other resources for their kids,” Woodcock said. “Having no park services will present a direct hardship for families in Vancouver.”
As of July 23, the city’s 1800 outside workers from CUPE 1004, were joined on the picket lines by CUPE 15’s almost 2000 inside workers. Together they are responsible for services ranging from garbage pick-up and sewer maintenance, to building inspections and staffing recreation and day care programs. And now, for the first time, the city’s 800 unionized library workers are also poised to walk out.
Throughout negotiations, Sullivan has not moved from a hard line demanding a 39
month contract that he claims is necessary to prevent disruptions during the 2010 Olympics.
But CUPE 15 President Paul Faoro says Sullivan is “misleading the public.”
“Sullivan is saying that the whole strike idea during the Olympics is in the union literature. It is an absolute lie." Faoro said CUPE 15 member would consider a 48-month contract. CUPE 1004 negotiator Mike Jackson said his members also want a “contract that takes us beyond the Olympics.”
“This is an unnecessary strike that has been caused by the Mayor’s rigidity,” said Cadman. “But it is not too late to avert further harm. And that is what we are today
asking the Mayor to do.”
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