CUPE questioning city’s motive for training managers to use heavy equipment

Diane Crocker
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CORNER BROOK  The City of Corner Brook is training some of its management staff in the operation of heavy equipment.

And the union representing the employees who normally do the work is questioning the reason and motive for it.

Donna Ryan is the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) national representative for western Newfoundland. CUPE represents about 70 employees in Local 706 at the city.

Those workers are responsible for everything from snowclearing and water and sewer work to street cleaning and maintenance of the city’s sports fields.

Local 706’s current contract with the city is set to expire on Jan.1, 2013.

“All I can assume is that we are going into negotiations with the city and they are preparing for either a strike or a lockout,” said Ryan. “Which makes me feel that they’re not going into negotiations with a fair mind.”

Ryan said the union is not approaching the pending negotiations thinking ‘oh we’re going out on strike.’

Rather, she said “we’re going into negotiations hoping we can get a fair collective agreement.”

The training of managers to do union work was also an issue in contract negotiations with the city’s firefighters earlier this year.

When asked if the training was tied to the upcoming negotiations with CUPE, Mayor Neville Greeley said “we routinely send managers for training on our heavy equipment and we’ll continue to do that.”

Meanwhile, Ryan said the union is also concerned about the safety issue of the plows when they are out on the road with inexperienced people at the wheel and she questioned the timing of the training.

“You can’t be teaching a person right now how to plow a road when there’s no snow down,” she said.

“So what training are they actually getting and what is the City of Corner Brook spending its money on.”

Money the union representative said could go to a monetary proposal for workers.

In terms of contract negotiations, Ryan said workers will be looking for respect, to maintain their present collective agreement and for a monetary package.

“No different than any other worker with any other company. Whether you’re unionized or not when a certain point comes, people are looking for an increase.”

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Newfoundland

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Recent comments

  • Foghorn Leghorn
    November 20, 2012 - 12:45

    @ Keith - I you dig a little deeper into the City Hall deal, you will find that it was the previous Pender administration that sanctioned the city hall project. On top of that it was financed partially by the Provincial Government. Further to that, the remaining portion that was financed by the city is being fully offset by a long term rental lease to the Provincial Library. It would be akin to you building a new home and your basement tenant paying your entire mortgage. In my books it was a fantastic deal!

  • CB Taxpayer
    November 19, 2012 - 08:01

    Here goes Mr. Greedy agsin! Though I am sure the CB voters will forget all of this come election time and or vote some other greedy person in that will do nothing for the young families of Corner Brook. Welcome to Corner Brook, the best retirement home on the East Coast of Canada!

  • Keith
    November 19, 2012 - 06:45

    Perhaps he has to find the money to justify renting the lower level of City Hall for nothing after putting the people of Corner Brook on the hook to pay for it. I guess you get what you wish for and you voted for this idiot. You have a chance at your next Municipal Election to get rid of these Clowns and put someone in who is for the people and not themselves.

  • CBGirl
    November 17, 2012 - 19:33

    Whats so wrong with a bit of preparedness? The snow has to be cleared, and instead of these managers going out to Stephenville to practice on a flat straight runway, they can learn something useful in the city. Good.

  • anonymous
    November 17, 2012 - 18:40

    should be ashamed of yourselves !! SCAB'S !!!