pedler-windsor-strike

A Windsor resident mows a lawn at one of the city's parks as a strike by city workers neared its seventh week. ((CBC))

Armed with lawnmowers and rakes, some residents in Windsor, Ont., helped tidy up public parks and playgrounds plagued by garbage and overgrown fields on Saturday as a strike by city workers neared its seventh week.

Police sent dozens of residents home from a soccer field when picketing city workers arrived and tensions rose, the CBC's Susan Pedler reported.

About 400 workers responsible for road work, gardening and garbage and recycling pickup walked off the job April 15, while another 1,400 workers in daycare, social services, bylaw enforcement and clerical work went on strike several days later.

One of the sticking points in the negotiations is the city's bid to remove post-retirement benefits for new hires.

In recent days, Mayor Eddie Francis exchanged angry words with workers who picketed his street.

Workers have also targeted residents, Pedler reported. One person took video images with his cellphone, which he says was of a worker charging at him while he was out picking up garbage.

With no new talks in sight and the city about to host the Red Bull Air Race on June 13-14, the pressure won't likely let up, Pedler said.

More than one million people attended when Detroit hosted the event last year.

With files from The Canadian Press