OLIVER—Municipal workers in the Town of Oliver, represented by CUPE 608, have voted 100 percent in favour of a strike.
CUPE workers in Oliver have been without a contract since December 2011.
“We aren’t asking for anything that isn’t fair and reasonable,” said Rachel Champagne, CUPE national representative and negotiator for CUPE 608. “City workers are proud of the quality public services they provide that help make Oliver a great place to live. “
The CUPE bargaining team says one of the outstanding issues is wages and that management and council each gave themselves a 2.9 percent wage increase.
They also say that the 1.5 percent wage increase that they have been offered is in fact a 1 percent wage reduction, due to the cost of living increases reported by the Government of B.C.
Oliver city workers are seeking a deal that includes a boot allowance and a 2 percent wage increase each year. The difference in cost between the last offer tabled by the employer and the last offer tabled by the union is less than $5,000.
Champagne reports that the Labour Relations board confirmed that there has never been an essential services order for the Town of Oliver.
Don Percifield, the consultant hired by the Town of Oliver, has been hired to negotiate for other employers in the past and has earned $1,200 per day for his services.
The Town of Oliver has refused to disclose how much they are paying Percifield and contrary to the town’s purchasing policy they have not entered into a written contract with Percifield.
“Striking and withdrawing services is always a last resort, but the union is very close to that last option” notes Champagne. “In this case the employer is being completely unreasonable. They have chosen to put taxpayer’s money in the pocket of a hired negotiator, who doesn’t even live in Oliver, over the hardworking city employees who live in this community.”
CUPE 608 represents 24 workers in Oliver.
Kathryn Sutton: 250-886-6502
Rachel Champagne: 250-762-7919