TOWNSHIP OF BONFIELD, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 3, 2013) - Residents of the Township of Bonfield could soon lose the important services of municipal workers after the Mayor and Town Council started the countdown to lock out their own workers, if mediation talks on July 12th fail to produce a contract settlement, warned the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 15 municipal workers in Bonfield.
"We've been trying to reach a negotiated settlement since our last contract expired December 31, 2011," said Steve Boyle, CUPE National Representative. "Every time we get to the table, the employer keeps demanding concessions that would roll back several provisions in the collective agreement, including attacks on seniority, training, employment security, scheduling, vacations, overtime, sick-leave and benefits."
"Our members have never had a strike or lockout in this community, and they don't want one now," says Boyle. "Previous rounds of negotiations when we dealt directly with the employer went a lot smoother - it's hard to reach a negotiated settlement when the Council is using a high-priced Toronto lawyer who wants to rewrite the collective agreement. At some point residents will want to ask themselves why the Township is spending thousands of dollars a day on an outside lawyer to negotiate a contract covering fifteen workers. From what's posted on their website, it looks like the lawyer has already cost the Township over $40,000, and we haven't even gotten to mediation yet."
A lockout would suspend roads maintenance, landfill and recycling services, applications and issuing of building permits, planning services, parks and recreation, tourism, by-law enforcement, health and safety, and all Township office services, since all municipal employees in Bonfield are represented by CUPE.
"Our members are residents too, and neighbours and friends of Bonfield taxpayers - the last thing they want is a service disruption," said Boyle. "That's why we are reaching out to the community, and asking residents to contact Mayor McLaren and the other councillors, to tell them to return to the bargaining table and do what it takes to reach a fair settlement for workers and for Bonfield, and one that will protect municipal services."