‘We Don’t Bargain in the Media’ – Norm Gale to CUPE 87 Union

City Manager Norm Gale
Norm Gale, City Manager.

Thunder Bay – Thunder Bay’s six hundred inside and outside workers are looking toward bargaining with the Corporation of the City of Thunder Bay.

“We’ve only had a few days of talks with our employer to date,” says Dana Vacek, President of CUPE 87. “But they seem determined to provoke conflict. They are seeking cuts to our modest benefits plan and coming after a number of basic collective agreement rights. We deliver quality public services in Thunder Bay every day. Our goal is to negotiate a fair deal for our members, and to keep delivering those services.”

“Throughout the pandemic, it’s been our goal to maintain vital services for the community,” said Vacek. “That continues to be our goal. The tone at the bargaining table has made us question the City’s commitment to reach a negotiated settlement with us, but we hope the assistance of a mediator will move things forward.”

CUPE 87, representing roughly 600 workers with the City of Thunder Bay, have armed their negotiating team with a strong strike mandate. Ninety-seven per cent (97%) of the members have voted in favour of job action if necessary, as the local prepares to return to bargaining next week.

“We don’t bargain in the media,” comments Norm Gale, Thunder Bay City Manager. “We greatly appreciate the diligence and hard work of the City’s CUPE staff and all City employees during COVID-19 and the support and cooperation of CUPE leadership at this unprecedented time.”

The union has also requested the assistance of a provincially-appointed conciliator who will begin work with the parties on December 7 and 8.

CUPE 87 represents childcare workers, building inspectors, administrative workers, roads and parks workers, water and waste water workers, waste collectors, snow plow operators, all who work for the City of Thunder Bay.