Mount Pearl municipal workers on strike as union calls out 'inferior benefits' for new hires

·2 min read
A group of striking city workers demonstrate outside the public works depot on Clyde Avenue in Mount Pearl, N.L. (Terry Roberts/CBC - image credit)
A group of striking city workers demonstrate outside the public works depot on Clyde Avenue in Mount Pearl, N.L. (Terry Roberts/CBC - image credit)

Municipal workers in Mount Pearl went on strike shortly after midnight Thursday, with the union focusing its fight on what it calls "inferior benefits" for new employees.

CUPE Local 2099 said more than 200 workers have been in collective bargaining with the city since March.

Ken Turner, president of CUPE 2099, said the union is fighting city plans to implement a "two-tier system" that would involve unacceptably low benefits for new hires.

Mount Pearl Mayor Dave Aker assured residents that services such as garbage collection and summer camps will continue. Aker said garbage collection will continue on a reduced, bi-weekly basis, while recycling has been suspended.

He said the Glacier, and Summit Centre will be closed until further notice.

During an interview with CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show, Turner said there was a 92 per cent strike mandate.

"We are committed to the residents of Mount Pearl," said Turner.

"We always have been. We're out there during these hard times. We were out there during Snowmageddon, we were out there during the pandemic. When people were home, our front-line workers were out there being thanked by the city for the work that they do,": he said.

"But right now, we have to protect our collective agreement."

Terry Roberts/CBC
Terry Roberts/CBC

Aker told the St. John's Morning Show "nothing has been cast in stone" over a two-tiered benefit system.

"We've made some good progress to date," Aker said, referring to recent bargaining.

"But in the last month or so, we haven't been able to finish the deal. We're down to the brass tacks. There's only a few items left and it's time to continue to negotiate," he said.

"We need the spirit of compromise at the end of the day to get a deal done. We look forward to getting back to the table soon," he added.

Dozens of CUPE members rallied outside Mount Pearl City Hall on June 28 to bring attention to their labour dispute with the city.

At the time, the city said the collective bargaining process was not completed, and that it was committed to fair and reasonable collective bargaining.

Local 2099 members work in road maintenance, water and sewage, engineering, recreation services, administration and other areas.

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