Cornwall CUPE locals vote to strike

CORNWALL – The city’s four employee groups under the Canadian Union of Public Employees have voted overwhelmingly to strike to back contract demands.

The CUPE locals, representing paramedics, library workers, Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge employees, inside and outside workers voted over 90 per cent in favour of walking the picket line should talks break down.

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) and Cornwall firefighters are expected to back the CUPE locals, according to a memo between the union and its membership.

The strike vote is a regular part of the collective bargaining process and doesn’t mean workers will be off the job right away. Also, Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge workers are not permitted to strike, as an essential service, and would go to arbitration.

At this point, some groups have asked for a conciliator, a CUPE national representative told CNW earlier this month. But neither management nor the union have asked for a “no-board report” which would trigger the countdown to a strike or lockout.

The union has picketed on a number of occasions – the most recent time during the February council meeting – to express its frustration at the pace of talks.

The majority of the workers have been without a contract since September 2016, while the lodge workers’ contract expired March 2016 and library workers had their contract expire December 2015.