2/12/08

Gov't-union workers still on strike

No new talks have been scheduled in the week-old long strike between City of Kawartha Lakes and CUPE Local 855's roughly 400 inside and outside workers. Calls from the union to mediator Dayna Firth Friday afternoon revealed that neither side had moved from their original positions, and CUPE national rep Alison Davidson said she is not expecting any new talks between the two sides in the near future. "No talks have been scheduled," she said.

Davidson said Friday's call was a pre-arranged agreement between CUPE Local 855, Kawartha Lakes solicitor John Saunders and mediator Dayna Firth.

"It was a pre-arranged call to check in and see if there was anything on either side that would warrant discussions at the table," Davidson said. "She (Dayna Firth) called John Saunders first, and John Saunders said the final offer is on the table, we are not changing our position, that's all there is for the union.

"Our position back to Dayna Firth after hearing that is that we're still out then," Davidson continued. "We're still out and we're not expecting that talks will be scheduled in the near future."

While frustrations increased last week as southern Ontario was bombarded with heavy snowfall and driving winds, creating icy roads and whiteout conditions, Davidson said the employer is feeling the pressure, not the union.

"I think there is more pressure on the employer's side than on our side," Davidson said. "I think this group is carrying a very successful strike. We've seen nothing but positive motivation; the pressure is not here for us.

"We have lots of money rolling in, and lots of support rolling," she said. "Sure it's cold out there but people are quite resolved in the way they're dealing with it. I think people are just buying more layers at the moment."

On Tuesday, an internal CUPE leadership meeting will be held, and Davidson said the meeting will be a good "morale booster" for the group.

"We have a scheduled CUPE leadership meeting, which is a leadership meeting where various locals provide their support both financially and morally to this group, and that is a good morale booster for this group."

With two visits by CUPE president Sid Ryan in the past four weeks, local members will also be visited Friday by CUPE national president Paul Moist.

"We have our president of CUPE National Paul Moist coming to rally the troops on Friday and a large rally being planned, so he is going to be visiting picket lines and attending the rally," Davidson said. The rally is planned for noon on Friday in Victoria Park.

(thepost.ca)

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