Strike deadline looms for hundreds of ROW public service workers
KITCHENER -- With the clock ticking toward potential strikes on Saturday, the Region of Waterloo now telling hundreds of public service workers in an email that they won't stop them from crossing a picket line.
The letter from the region's Chief Administrative Officer Bruce Lauckner reads in part, ”the Region of Waterloo will not prohibit staff from crossing the picket line to work. Staff will receive information on how to inform your supervisor of your intent to come to work."
The president of CUPE Local 1883, who represents the majority of the office staff at the region, says she's disappointed in what she calls a clear attempt by the region to chip away at their solidarity.
"The way i see it personally, they are trying to be union busters and they are trying to encourage employees to cross the picket lines,” said Noelle Fletcher, CUPE Local 1883 President in an interview with CTV News.
CTV News reached out to the region on Tuesday evening for an interview but no one was available.
Fletcher says some of the group’s roughly 900 members are fearful they will be punished for not crossing the picket line.
She adds that today's email came as a disappointment.
"We feel that we've been disrespected for a long time and that we are not taken seriously and all we want is for them to negotiate a fair deal with us, we don't want to go on strike, however we do have everybody scheduled and ready to go for Monday morning.”
In a release issued Tuesday, the region says they remain committed to reaching an agreement with the unions.
The two groups are set to meet again on Friday for another round of talks, with a strike date set for Saturday morning.
The are also 300 other unionized regional workers in a strike position on Saturday, a group that includes paramedics. That group is part of Local 5191 and the paramedics are required to work through any legal strike action but potentially at a reduced capacity.
The region said that an essential services agreement would be in place if they strike.
Another round of talks set with that group is set for Thursday.