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City of Prince George unions voting on final offer as strike mandate looms

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Unionized workers at the city of Prince George are voting on a new contract today and tomorrow. The city calls it a "final offer," following failed talks with a mediator at the beginning of November. The workers, represented by CUPE, rejected a previous offer and are in a position to strike with 72-hour notice.

Meanwhile, a Prince George city councillor is questioning the timing of a recent city budget survey. Brian Skakun says the survey asked people what they think about unionized workers' wages around the same time the city issued a news release comparing wages in Prince George to other B.C. cities. "I get a web update on my cell phone and it says CUPE members are the highest paid in the province, all in capital letters," Skakun says. "Then I'm contacted by people who were contacted as part of this survey, and they had a lot of concerns that these questions were going on and going out, especially during difficult negotiations."

Kathleen Soltis is the city's director of corporate services. She says it is appropriate for the survey to ask people about union wages, since they form more than a third of the city's budget.

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