Oakville strike now in fifth day with little hope of resolution

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Published November 6, 2023 at 8:58 am

oakville strike

The labour impasse between the Town of Oakville and its outside workers strike shows no signs of being resolved anytime soon, with both sides seeming to want to wait for the other to blink before hammering out a deal.

The Town’s 267 outside workers and facility operators walked off the job Thursday for the first time ever. The strike, now in its fifth day, has shut down community facilities and cancelled programs and scheduled events from Oakville Blades junior hockey games to art festivals.

The two sides did return to the bargaining table Friday and talks continued through the weekend with little progress made.

The Town has been repeating earlier statements that it is “committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement” with its employees (represented by CUPE Local 136) that “balances the needs of workers” with its responsibilities” to taxpayers.

Oakville CAO Jane Clohecy said the Town had offered to resume negotiations Thursday – after the strike deadline of midnight tonight had passed – after “promising discussions” with CUPE Local 136 leadership – but were turned down.

The union, however, said the strike happened because Clohecy and her team “chose to delay talks, rather than to come to the table and negotiate a fair deal.”

The two sides tried the conciliation method last month but after three days without a resolution the Town and CUPE 136 “reached an impasse” and the Town requested a ‘No Board Report’ October 10, setting the stage for a possible strike.

Two days later the union members voted to strike.

The union, which said the workers are “under attack,” says there are several key issues at the heart of the stalemate, including health plan concessions and changes to working hours. Money is also a problem, CUPE’s national body said in a statement released Friday.

“Wage proposals from the town do not align with prevailing trends in municipal collective agreements. In an attempt to pressure the workers into accepting this unfair deal, the employer even applied for a ‘no board,’ and then did not come back to the bargaining table before the strike deadline.”

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