Inside employees in legal strike position
More than 5,000 Vancouver city workers are set to strike today, affecting a wide array of services including garbage collection, libraries and day care.
About 600 non-unionized management staff are planning to work 60 hours a week in an attempt to keep basic services running.
CUPE Local 1004 president Mike Jackson claimed managers could maintain garbage collection, but he predicted the city would let the service lapse.
“The taxpayers are concerned about their garbage. I feel for that,” he said. But he accused the city of refusing to budge on key negotiating points, including its offer of a 39-month contract.
That would keep employees working under contract until just after the 2010 Olympics.
Mayor Sam Sullivan has accused the unions of refusing the offer because they want the ability to “shut the city down” during the Olympics.
Jackson rejected Sullivan’s claim the union would threaten to halt services while Vancouver is in the international spotlight.
“He’s obviously on something,” said Jackson, “because that would make us look very bad, really bad.”
He suggested a 48-month contract.
Paul Faoro, president of CUPE Local 15, which represents inside workers, told reporters he was shocked the city was not willing to return to the bargaining table over the weekend.
Inside workers are in a legal position to strike at eight this morning. About 900 library staff are expected to join them at 4 p.m. today, when they are in a position to strike.
Parents of more than 2,500 children registered in day camps are making alternative plans, as municipal day-care workers join the picket lines.
Lynn Saffery said he’s looking into programs run by churches or private organizations for his two children, but he expected competition to be fierce.
He also wondered whether he would receive a refund from the city.
Meanwhile, about 800 city workers in North Vancouver are also expected to strike today.