Odds of White Rock’s first city strike ‘very good’

City of White Rock employees could issue strike notice as early as Thursday.

The odds of a strike by City of White Rock employees are “very good,” according to a union spokesperson.

CUPE 402-01 president Mike Guraliuk said Monday that stalled contract negotiations coupled with a strong strike mandate mean 72-hour strike notice could be issued as early as Thursday.

If a strike cannot be averted, it would be a first in the city’s history, he said.

Guraliuk said last week that talks with the city had broken down, and that applications were made to the Labour Relations Board by both sides regarding what should be deemed essential services in the event of job action. Those service levels were finalized Monday.

Talks between the city and union broke down two weeks ago, after two days of mediation.

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

“There’s too much uncertainty,” Guraliuk said.

The workers have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2011.

Guraliuk has no doubt citizens will be impacted should a strike be called.

“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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