Odds of imminent City of White Rock strike abated

New talks have been scheduled between the City of White Rock and its unionized employees. - FIle
New talks have been scheduled between the City of White Rock and its unionized employees.
— image credit: FIle

A stalemate in negotiations between the City of White Rock and its unionized employees has seemingly been lifted.

CUPE spokeswoman Roseanne Moran, said Wednesday new talks have been scheduled between the two groups for late next week.

The progress was announced less than 48 hours after the local (402-01) union president described odds of a strike in the city as "very good."

Mike Guraliuk told Peace Arch News Tuesday that when the two sides left mediated discussion that wrapped up April 1, "we were not talking."

Coupled with a strong strike mandate, Guraliuk predicted 72-hour strike notice would be issued late this week.

Talks between the city and union broke down two weeks ago. Essential service levels were finalized by the Labour Relations Board on Monday.

Guraliuk – a city worker for 20 years – said sticking points include long-term disability benefits and a lack of defined hours for about 40 – nearly half – of city employees, including bylaw officers.

"There's too much uncertainty," Guraliuk said.

The workers – with posts at city hall, leisure services, engineering and public works and RCMP support staff – have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011.

If a strike is called, it would be a first in the city's history, Guraliuk said.

He has no doubt citizens would be impacted by job action.

"Our members do everything in the city," he said, citing services from taxes to garbage pickup.

"If there's a strike, it would impact the whole city."


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