Mayor Kerry Cook released a statement late Thursday, responding to the “union’s tactics.”
Her statement is in full here:
“For the first time, the unionized employees of the City of Williams Lake have chosen to go on strike. The mayor and council consider the action unfortunate and designed to inconvenience our citizens but respect our employees right to do so.
With the agreement of the City and the Union, the Labour Relations Board has issued an Essential Services Order which will protect services necessary to protect our citizens’ health, safety and welfare during the strike. If necessary, the city will apply for amendments to the order.
Clearly our citizens will be inconvenienced. For example, with Spring Break on the horizon, the union’s actions have lead to the shutdown of all programmes at the Cariboo Memorial Centre. We regret this.
The mayor and council also regret that the union has chosen to undertake a campaign of personal insults and misinformation, attacking city management, our negotiators and the council.
We do not know if the union’s tactics are having the desired effect. We do know that the feedback the mayor and council have been receiving has been overwhelmingly positive.
With regard to our management staff who are working hard to maintain essential services and to the city’s negotiating committee, they are doing a remarkable job under very trying circumstances and are having to endure inexcusable personal insults from the union. Management and our negotiating committee have the full and unqualified support and confidence of the mayor and council.
Before engaging in these personal insults against people doing their job, the union should remember that at the end of this strike, we all have to work together again. Needless antagonism is uncalled for.
Unfortunately the union has chosen to publish untruths and misleading statements. We will publish bulletins as necessary to rebut the union’s falsehoods as necessary and they will appear on the City’s website.”
International Operating Union of Engineers Local 882B service representative John Dube responded to the mayor’s message late Thursday saying the union does not have to justify what it’s putting out to the public.
“The union has been very truthful and open and welcomes the public to come and talk to our people to find out that what we’re putting out there are the facts. The union does not have to prove itself. It has not lied to the public.”
It was the union that went to the city and said it would supply the operators to make sure the ice remained at the complex, Dube added.
“So it seems funny that when they say they are trying to do something for the public, their idea was to take the ice out. Their track record is lousy. They had to go to arbitration with the CRD, they are trying to shove arbitration down our throats because they can’t do what they are supposed to do, and it’s us that are putting out mis-information? They haven’t proven that we’ve put out one piece of misinformation.”