Vancouver Province - Oct 9 - Unions Unhappy with deal, strike
Deal in doubt
By Jonathan Woodward, Vancouver Sun
Published: Sunday, October 07, 2007
Vancouver's civic workers' strike could extend into 2008, mediator Brian Foley warned Sunday after two of the three striking union locals recommended rejection of his proposals. Outside workers and library workers have been urged to turn down the proposal, while negotiators for inside workers have recommended acceptance.
The three Canadian Union of Public Employees locals, which together have some 5,000 members, have been on strike since late July. Local 1004, representing 1,800 outside workers, and Local 391, representing about 700 library workers, will vote on the offer Tuesday, while Local 15, representing 3,500 inside workers will vote both Monday and Tuesday.
CUPE 15 - Inside Workers - YES
Local 15 chief negotiator Keith Graham said that if his members vote Yes, they will return to work immediately, unless they have to cross picket lines.
He said Foley addressed many key issues for his members. "When I look at the whole document, we were able to make some ground in areas we haven't been able to correct for years," he said.
"Did we get everything we wanted? No," he said. "But we can still go back with our heads held high."
If union members vote against the proposal, the strike could well drag into 2008 with no benefit, he said.
CUPE 391 - Library Workers - NO
Meanwhile, at the Croatian Cultural Centre, hundreds of striking library workers were on their feet cheering their negotiators' recommendation to reject Foley's proposal.
Leaders of CUPE 391 wouldn't comment, but several workers walked out of the meeting saying their negotiators had recommended rejection because the key demand of pay equity had been ignored.
Foley said he had proposed raises for 300 of 700 library staff, who are mostly women, in the name of pay equity.
"They would have had a wishy-washy committee that went nowhere," he said. "I didn't give them a committee, I gave them pay equity."
CUPE 1004 - Outside Workers - NO
Meanwhile, Local 1004 bargaining committee representative Dave Van Dyke had some harsh words for Foley as outside workers - including truck drivers and garbage collectors - gathered at the Maritime Labour Centre Sunday morning.
"Foley's sold us down the river," said Van Dyke. The wage increase of 17.5 per cent over five years was acceptable, he said. But what wasn't acceptable was the lack of whistleblower protection, tradesmen not getting large enough salary increases, a too-low cap on deferred vacation, and too-strict disciplinary measures for workers.
"They split the baby in half," he said. "The bargaining committee is recommending turning it down."