Tensions are getting higher and higher as the strike with CUPE Local 101’s 750 inside city workers continues.
Members from unions around London gathered on Dufferin Street in front of City Hall to hold a solidarity rally.
Different members from unions spoke to the crowd to show their support.
CUPE Local 101 and other unions are starting to criticize the Mayor and Council for not getting their negotiating team to bargain with them fairly.
“We didn’t vote for a right wing council,” a union leader said to the crowd.
The latest talks broke down late Tuesday night. President of CUPE Local 101, Shelley Navarroli, believes the City isn’t being fair.
“The City is not interested in reaching a settlement to end this strike. We put forward proposals to address all the outstanding issues. The City’s bargaining committee, who remained absent from the bargaining table for quite some time then came back after 5 and a half hours and responded with minimal movement from their previous tabled positions.”
She wants the City to be more specific.
“We asked them from the very beginning to discuss with us their need for these changes and they have yet to demonstrate the need for their proposed changes to the collective agreement. Similar to any dispute resolution, you need to have a discussion in order to understand and attempt to resolve the issue.”
As the rally was getting started, Mayor Matt Brown and City Manager Art Zuidema held a press conference to discuss the latest in the talks from their side.
Mayor Brown says successful negotiations have consensuses from both sides.
“It’s requires give and take from both parties. We want to. We need to move forward in these negotiations.”
One of the issues that both sides are failing to see eye-to-eye on is the language in the contract.
Mayor Brown says the language hasn’t really been touched since the 1967.
“This is when the language was largely first established. We need to have these conversations at the bargaining table. We need to find local solutions and need both sides willing to have these discussions.”
He wants the Union to know this.
“Successful negotiations occur at the local level. Settlements that are freely negotiated should be our goal at all times.”
City Manager Art Zuidema says he values the work that the striking workers do.
“But, in terms of this contract negotiation, we need there to be serious negotiations and serious back and forth.”
CUPE Local 101 is looking to bring this through arbitration. Although, Mayor Brown says that successful deals are done on the local level.
The strike has been going since May 25. The list of services that are impacted by the strike can be found on the City’s website.