Nfld. & Labrador

Placentia strike continues after town rejects 'final offer' from CUPE

It's been about seven weeks since workers in the Town of Placentia went on strike, and it looks like the labour dispute will go on at least a little while longer.

Workers on strike say they will make more noise to get deal done

Gerry Quilty, president of CUPE 1761 says his members are going to make more noise and be disruptive moving forward in hopes of getting a deal done. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

It's been about seven weeks since workers in the Town of Placentia went on strike, and it looks like the labour dispute will go on at least a little while longer.

On Thursday CUPE Local 1761 submitted what it called its final offer to the town. 

Unfortunately for them, the town's mayor Bernie Power said the offer has not been accepted.

"It's kind of ironic because their final offers, and every time they're saying final offers, they keep jumping all over the place," Power told CBC News. 

"I don't know what their final offer will be. No, the offer is not accepted."  

Power said the last offer the town put on the table was a last ditch effort to find a resolution. However, he said CUPE turned it down and the mayor isn't even sure if it was ever presented to its members.

Union workers held a rally outside of the town hall on Friday morning, waiting to hear if the deal would or wouldn't work. 

Power wasn't in the building, but made a brief appearance as he drove by in his truck, parked across the street from picketers and took some jeers from a loud speaker when he left. 

Strike continues

Arena attendants, clerks and maintenance workers are feeling the squeeze, among others. Monday will mark the beginning of the seventh week on the picket line. 

"Well we're extremely disappointed, and I cannot give you any details about what is happening here this morning with their response to that because I really don't have all their full details yet," said Gerry Quilty, president of CUPE 1761 on Friday. 

"We are working on that right now. But we thought that what we gave them yesterday, we thought that was a very fair offer for what we had given up."

Placentia town workers rallied outside of the townhall Friday morning hoping their final offer to the town would be accepted. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

Power said the workers had years of unparalleled wage increases which in turn was passed on to the taxpayers of the community. 

He added the townspeople voted for a change and they don't want to see big raises anymore.

Power said the town managers were responsible for setting the pay rates for the last two collective agreements, and they were giving themselves big raises each year of about 4 and 5 per cent.

The union workers are asking for two per cent increases to wages in the final two years of a proposed four year deal, which is the only stipulation left that both sides of the table aren't seeing eye-to-eye on, according to Power, again referencing the residents of Placentia don't want to see more wage increases reflected in their taxes. 

Quilty said he's ready to kick things up a notch to get his union members what he says they deserve.

"They've got the events planned here next with an Irish group coming. We will disrupt it. That's the only alternative we have. That's the only leverage that we can do," he said.

"We're going to ramp it up, we're going to make some noise and hopefully we'll get something resolved in the end. We want to get back to work."

Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

With files from Ryan Cooke