Mediators to help City of Vancouver and its striking workers
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Two mediators will sit down with the City of Vancouver and its unions this week to help settle the civic strike. The effort is being called a step in the right direction, or at least it's a step to try and find some middle ground. The parties have mutually agreed to hire private mediators Brian Foley and Debbie Cameron, instead of having the BC Minister of Labour appoint a special mediator under Section 76.
Debbie Cameron was first employed by the BC Nurses Union and worked as a Labour Relations Officer and a Negotiations Officer. She became the Co-ordinator for Hospitals and Organizing in 1992. Brian Foley was involved in talks between BC Transit and the Office and Professional Employees Union during a contract dispute involving office staff in 1999.
University of Victoria professor John Fryer said all we can do now is keep our fingers crossed. "It's hopeful the mediator can pull things off. The worry is if they can't, then often that means the parties are so entrenched that a strike goes on for a very long time."
Fryer said although a mediator can help, the best kind of collective agreement is one the parties reach themselves. Foley will work with CUPE 15 and CUPE 1004, while Cameron will mediate talks between CUPE 391 and the Vancouver Public Library. The talks will be under a media blackout.