Kitchener-Waterloo

Outside workers in Wellesley township authorize strike action

Outside workers with the CUPE local 1542 in the Township of Wellesley have voted unanimously to authorize their union to take strike action.

Township wants to rewrite collective agreement, says union

Outside workers in Wellesley Township have voted in favour of strike action. The union says negotiations between both sides are scheduled to continue at a future date with a provincially appointed conciliation officer. (Township of Wellesley/Facebook)

After 25 years of what a union president described as an amicable relationship between outside workers and the Township of Wellesley, workers with the CUPE local 1542 have voted unanimously to authorize their union to take strike action.

CUPE local president Chris Roth says the vote last week came after the union and township couldn't agree on a new collective agreement. Roth says the union went into negotiations with a few proposals while "the township came to the table with a large number of proposals, asking to rewrite the collective agreement."

"We have a complement of 12 employees at the Township of Wellesley. We're working in the rec department and public works, operating in the recreation facilities, snowplow operations, gravel road maintenance, all other construction aspects," said Roth.

"Through the pandemic, these individuals who have continued to work have continued to work at a high level and even alter their shifts and and working arrangements to accommodate the township."

The last collective agreement was a three-year contract that expired on December 31, 2020.

The union says negotiations between both sides are scheduled to continue at a future date with a provincially appointed conciliation officer.

"We're just looking for a fair settlement. A fair contract that looks after our our members so they can continue to provide the community of Wellesley Township with all the wonderful services they've been able to supply over the years," said Roth.

'Working collaboratively with the union'

The Township of Wellesley issued a statement Wednesday evening saying the union "retains the right to hold a strike vote at any time," but they were not informed of by the Union and did not have details.

"We have a skilled team of negotiators working collaboratively with the union, and on behalf of the residents of Wellesley Township, and believe both parties will be able to come to a fair agreement," the township said in the statement.

"We have requested that the Ministry of Labour assist us going forward, and we look forward to reaching an agreement with the union. As we learn more, we will share information and work to ensure no disruption of services to Wellesley Township residents."

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