Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) - Ontario

April 30, 2009 10:07 ET

CUPE has no Negotiating Partner

"The taxpayers of this financially disabled city, and indeed the rank-and-file city workers, are being used as pawns in this grander game." - City Councilor Alan Halberstadt "The City does not need the money and we do not need a strike to save money." - Windsor Mayor Eddie Francis "CUPE has no negotiating partner." - CUPE Ontario President Sid Ryan

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 30, 2009) - When Windsor's mayor and city council inserted themselves into negotiations, the result was a strike by city workers. The mayor and council can't even agree amongst themselves on the simple question of Windsor's financial status. The mayor says the city does not need the money. But Councillor Halberstadt's blog states that Windsor is "financially disabled."

No face-to-face negotiations have taken place in over two weeks. The mayor says the city does not need the money, but pushes 1800 of his employees out on strike, ostensibly, he says, because the city cannot afford to pay post 65 retiree benefits. On the other hand, the blogger, Councillor Halberstadt, argues the city is a financial basket case. How can these two visions co-exist? This 'bargaining in the media' is the opposite of the normal collective bargaining process. The two parties usually get their mandate in advance, then negotiate in confidence to achieve that mandate. This is how politics is kept off the table. The principals have the opportunity to ratify or reject the tentative deal later.

"There is a serious situation here. No actual negotiations are taking place. CUPE has no negotiating partner," says Sid Ryan, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Ontario. "The negotiating teams need to get back to the negotiating table empowered to forge a 'made in Windsor' solution. The city has a 14 per cent unemployment rate, yet council is making decisions that are hurting local business. They are taking dollars out of the economy. It's the opposite of a stimulus package."

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