Unionized Town of Oakville workers in strike position November 2
Published October 24, 2023 at 4:44 pm
Oakville could be facing a shutdown of city services as early as next week if the Town and its unionized workers can’t hammer out a deal in the meantime, with the union claiming negotiators for the Town “walked away from the table” three weeks ago.
The Town of Oakville and CUPE Local 136, the union representing 285 outside workers and facility operators – the second largest bargaining unit in Oakville – have been negotiating a new contract since April.
The two sides met with a provincially appointed conciliation officer to help reach an agreement but negotiations have “reached an impasse,” a statement from the Town read.
A ‘No Board Report’ was issued by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development on October 16, a formal notice that starts the clock on a 17-day period, after which either party can formally commence a legal labour disruption.
Local 136 members voted in favour of a strike October 12 by an overwhelming 97 per cent but the Town’s bargaining team remains “hopeful” of a deal.
“The Town has no intention of locking out employees and remains hopeful that a settlement that is fair to both taxpayers and employees can be reached,” the statement declared. “However, in the event of a strike, the delivery of some of Oakville’s public services and programs will face interruption. The town is prepared for the impact and has plans in place to limit the disruption as best as we can.”
A statement from the union paints a slightly different picture, with Local 136 saying it was time for the Town to get back to the table before November 2 and make another offer.
“Our employer walked away from the table on October 3 after receiving our fair counteroffer. It is the Town’s turn to make an offer,” the union said on its website. Three days later, the statement continued, “they told us that they ‘simply do not see the benefit’ of returning to the table.”
“CUPE Local 136 remains committed to bargaining towards a fair collective agreement and calls on our employer to come back to the table before November 2.”
Arenas and community centres, including pools, will be closed to the public if workers go on strike. All libraries, which operates on a separate contract (including those in municipal community centres), will remain open. Seasonal washrooms in town parks and leash-free dog parks) will be closed.
Other impacted areas and services include recreation and culture programs, as well as parks, roads and works operations.
Updates on the possible labour disruption and its impact will be shared through the Town of Oakville website as well as with the media. Residents are also encouraged to stay up to date by visiting the Town’s Labour Relations page.
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