Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)

April 18, 2009 04:08 ET

Discussions Break Down Between CUPE and the City of Windsor: Inside and Outside Workers Now Both on Strike

WINDSOR, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - April 18, 2009) - Local 543 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing the City of Windsor inside workers, are now on strike as of Saturday, April 18th.

Jean Fox, president of local 543, was disappointed with the outcome of discussions: "It came down to a few issues but one major: post-retirement benefits", said Fox. "The City refused to move and kept asking for concessions without offering anything in return. They left us no choice but to go on strike."

The City is looking to impose a two tier system for post retirement benefits, which will not result in any savings for the Corporation for approximately 30 years. The City refused to discuss any wage increase until the Union would agree with this proposal.

"This is a very strange way of bargaining", said Fox. "They would simply not give us any indication of a financial settlement until we would agree to give up benefits for our future retirees. It was impossible for us to bargain that way because it is a concession our members will not agree to."

Contrary to the Mayor's statement, the Union was not seeking a 3% increase: "We brought many cost saving initiatives to the table, which were simply ignored by the City representatives", added Fox. "Windsor's Mayor and City Council are looking to use the recession as a cover to demand rollbacks that will stay with city workers long after the economy has recovered. Cutting back on public services at a time when our City needs them most shows a lack of vision and leadership."

Members of local 543 now join the outside workers on the picket line, who are now on their fourth day of strike.

CUPE local 543 represents 1400 workers, ranging from clerical, child care workers, social services, traffic department, and community centres.

Contact Information

  • CUPE local 543
    Jean Fox
    CUPE Communications
    Luc Tittley