City of Cornwall strike or lockout likely next month

In this March 2018, file photo, Cornwall city workers with the Canadian Union of Public Employees demonstrate outside city hall. The union has asked for a so-called no-board report which would trigger a strike or lockout sometime in May. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston, File)

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected from an earlier version to show inside workers, Local 3251, is still awaiting on a reply from the city on contract negotiations and has not called for a no-board report.

CORNWALL – Calling this month’s round of conciliation talks “completely fruitless,” the Canadian Union of Public Employees has started the process to trigger a strike or lockout.

CUPE announced today (April 25) that it has asked the conciliation officer with the Ministry of Labour to issue a no-board report.

That would trigger a strike by CUPE or a lockout by the City of Cornwall, 17 days after its endorsed by the province, which is likely in the coming days. A strike or lockout would likely happen sometime in the middle of next month.

The CUPE locals represent nearly 250 full-time outside workers, librarians, paramedics and Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge employees.

Inside workers are still waiting for a reply from the city bargaining group on a proposal from the last conciliation meeting.

“It’s time to get things moving,” CUPE national spokesman Alison Denis said. “Perhaps a deadline will focus City minds toward resolution.”

The workers have been without a contract since 2015 and, in some cases, 2016.

While they have asked for a no-board report, Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge workers are an essential service and can’t strike. Their dispute would go to binding arbitration.

Paramedics can strike on a limited basis. Three ambulances would be on the road instead of the regular complement of nine, the union said.