Talks between the City of Cornwall and four municipal locals broke down on Tuesday, moving the parties closer to a strike on Thursday, May 17th at 12:01 a.m. by three of the four locals. The workers, who are represented by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Locals 234, 3251-01 and 5734, work for the City in “outside” jobs, at the library, and as paramedics. “Inside” workers, represented by CUPE Local 3251, have a strike deadline of May 23rd at 12:01 a.m.
“We remain available to bargain all day and night, Wednesday, May 16th,” said Alison Denis, CUPE National Representative. “We are willing to do the work necessary to get a fair deal, but we are not seeing a parallel willingness from the employer. They need to be here talking with us to prevent a strike. We’re on the eve of a strike, and they’re not here.”
“Residents of Cornwall should be concerned that the City is not working around the clock with us to avert a strike,” said Keith Sandford, CUPE National Representative. “If there’s a strike on Thursday morning, it will not be because we walked away as the deadline approached.”
Paramedics’ right to strike is partially limited by an essential services agreement between the parties, which is a requirement of the Ambulance Services Collective Bargaining Act. Under the agreement signed between CUPE and the City of Cornwall, only three cars of the regular complement of nine will be on the road in a strike or lockout situation.