The union representing more than 100 city employees in Williams Lake will be holding a strike vote on Sunday, Jan. 27 at the Coast Fraser Inn.
John Dube, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 882B service representative, said Wednesday the union has been without a contract for eight months.
There are 105 to 110 members, some part-time, some seasonal, and some full-time, Dube confirmed, adding the union and employer have met on a few occasions, but are not close to working out a deal.
“We met last Monday, Jan. 21 and were still very far apart, and walked away from the table,” Dube said. “We haven’t even talked money yet. The employer wants to trash our collective agreement and have us give them rollbacks and we’re not agreeing with it.”
Dube said the union’s difficulty with the employer wanting to cut costs is that management receives more benefits when a contract is negotiated with his union.
In a press release issued Wednesday evening the city said it is hopeful a strike won’t occur and the union will come back to the table so the parties can continue negotiating a collective agreement without disruptions to the community.
“In the event of job action, an essential services plan will be in place to minimize the impact to the community,” the press release stated. “The City recognizes that it has excellent employees and is aware that these processes can create uncertainty and stress within the workforce. The City is looking to negotiate a fair package for both sides and has made its position very clear to the union that it is willing and able, to negotiate on all items.”
The city will be applying to the Labour Relations Board for a mediator, the press release stated.