Friday, November 17, 2006

Union members give 93 per cent strike mandate to save jobs at Parks Commission

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE November 17, 2006

Union members give 93 per cent strike mandate to save jobs at Parks Commission

NIAGARA FALLS – Employees of the Niagara Parks Commission have voted 93 per cent in favour of taking strike action in an effort to save full-time and seasonal jobs.

Colin MacKenzie, an employee of the maintenance center and chair of the OPSEU Local 217 bargaining team, said this contract is about one issue and one issue only.

“This is all about stopping this employer from contracting out our jobs,” MacKenzie said. “The Niagara Parks Commission is systematically destroying jobs and replacing them with outside contracts.”

All bargaining issues, with the exception of the contracting out issue, have been settled. But as Mackenzie points out, everything hinges on that language.

“There is no point having improvements to wages, benefits or working conditions if you don’t have a job,” MacKenzie said. “Our members are adamant that we take a stand against this employer’s practice of contracting out our work. Niagara Falls lives on tourist revenue, and our members at the Parks Commission are the absolute best at what they do. To sell off our jobs to contractors who know nothing about this work will hurt Niagara Falls over the long term.”

Over 550 employees at the Parks Commission tend to the grounds and greenhouses, perform maintenance and operate restaurants, concessions and tours at one of Ontario’s busiest tourist attractions.

The union will enter conciliation with the employer on Dec. 6, 2006. Employees could be in a legal strike position by Dec. 31.

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