Hundreds of CUPE Local 101’s members gathered onto Dufferin Street in front of City Hall to mark Day One of their strike.
CUPE 101’s 750 members walked off the job Monday. Last minute negotiations between the Union and City Management came to an impasse.
CUPE Local 101’s President, Shelley Navarroli says this strike doesn’t need to happen.
“We’re going to take the strike one day at a time. This strike could end today. We could be back to work tomorrow. That’s if they come back to the table and bargain with us.”
The President of CUPE Ontario, Fred Hahn, also took part in the rally today. He says the Union needs to take a stand.
“We’ve had these issues in the collective agreement for 30, 40 years. They’re not issues raised with other bargaining teams in the city. This doesn’t make any sense. This strike didn’t need to happen. It doesn’t need to continue.”
He says if a deal can be reach in other parts of the province, it can be reached here.
“The vast majority of other parties bargained with no concessions. If this can happen in other communities in other parts across the province, it can happen here in the City of London.”
One major sticking point in the process, is changing some of the language in the agreement.
Although, Navarroli believes it’s doesn’t need to be touched.
“If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. The City hasn’t been able to demonstrate the verbally or on paper where the need is.”
Navarroli says the gap between both parties is large. She also doesn’t really have an idea of when the strike could end. She hopes it will end soon.
Hahn says it’s really up to the Mayor and Council to get the workers back on the job.
“This is very much up to what the City does. It could very well be over today. I don’t want to a prognosticator. I will say this. This is not a prediction, it’s the truth. Our members will stand together. They will support each other and be supported by other unions in the city. We will apply pressure to the decision makers to ensure we get what’s fair and what is right.”
“These negotiations have been extremely difficult to understand. I have to wonder if there is a larger agenda at play here. From the beginning, the union’s “concessions free” bargaining position failed to address the City’s significant issues. We continue to seek operational flexibility and financial sustainability and to update the current contract to meet the modern needs of our community. Instead, we are being ignored.”
Mayor Matt Brown says he’s disappointed with this outcome.
“We are extremely disappointed. I have said it before, successful negotiations take time and patience and they take a willingness to reach an agreement. We were all hoping to see our 750 valued employees at work Monday morning. Instead, our community is faced with a strike. Our team remains committed to getting back to the table as soon as the union negotiators are ready to address the significant issues in a meaningful way.”
The City is warning of delays with some of their services. You can visit their website for the latest.