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A Message from Mayor Gary Goobie & Council- February 11, 2020

February 11, 2020

JOB ACTION- Week 2

Each week council will provide a brief update to our residents relating to issues concerning the job action. I should start by saying, we have no intention whatsoever of commenting on postings (mostly through social media) by unionized workers, their families, and supporters.  Most residents can see these for what they are. That’s not the purpose of this update. Council wants to deal only with the facts.

RESPECT FOR UNIONIZED EMPLOYEES

Council has only the utmost respect for our unionized employees, and that’s why we increased our wage offer in the second round of conciliation from 4.5% to 5.5%. This is a very reasonable and fair wage offer – especially in this economic climate.

Unfortunately, it did not meet the union’s expectations, and the union rejected both wage offers, and then voted overwhelmingly (85%) in favor of a strike. That’s the union’s right – and the employer respects that.

The strike vote was not taken to strengthen the union’s bargaining position – because the strike vote was taken a full five (5) days after the town was in a legal strike/lockout position. Make no mistake – the union fully intended to strike.

The only difference between a strike or lockout (at this stage) is the timing – who chooses when. The employer told the union (through the CUPE provincial representative) that employees would be locked out. So, there should not have been any surprise to our unionized employees. One way or another – workers were going out.

RESPECTFUL WAGE OFFER

To put things in perspective, 5.5% is the highest offer (that council is aware of) that has been offered to a unionized employee group in the past year. There have been many offers (and settlements) much lower – but nothing better that we are aware of.

The recent NAPE offer to public service employees does provide a wage increase of 4% (2% & 2%) in the first two years – but we have to remember that these same employees had received four (4) consecutive years of 0% – while Holyrood’s unionized employees had received increases of 12% over the same period. That’s a huge difference.

CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Council’s main priority during this job action is the safety of our residents, and ensuring we continue to be able to provide essential services to residents. We are doing our best to achieve both goals.

We have contracted the services of Buckle’s Contracting to provide many of the basic services to residents. Buckle’s Contracting have been providing professional contracted services to the residents of the Town of Holyrood for many years. They are a reputable and very professional contracting company – with good, reliable equipment and a qualified and professional workforce.

Again, we remind residents, if you have any issues to call the Town Hall anytime during the day or after hours at (709) 229-7252 or email info@holyrood.ca.  We will get back to you with a response as quickly as we possibly can.

To be fully transparent, Buckle’s Contracting is owned by John Buckle, who is the brother of Deputy Mayor Curtis Buckle.  I have to reiterate that; Curtis Buckle has consistently excused himself from any discussions and all votes on any business transactions involving Buckle’s Contracting.

The Deputy Mayor has always declared a “conflict of interest” – as he should. Buckle’s Contracting have been awarded work in Holyrood (in the past and during this job action) because they are the low (or sole) bidder and because of their professionalism, work record and equipment availability.

CRYSTAL CARNIVAL

To avoid subjecting our residents to inevitable picketing by our unionized employees, we have postponed our Crystal Carnival until further notice. We will provide an update once the job action is settled and operations and services have returned to normal.

If you have questions – don’t hesitate to call the Town Office at 229-7252 (during or after work hours) or email info@holyrood.ca