Pressure rising as talks break down between city and inside workers
The City of London and its inside workers are once again at an impasse, and the pressure on political leaders is starting to grow.
Negotiations broke down Tuesday night, and it appears both sides remain far apart. No further negotiations have been scheduled and it looks like the strike could stretch well into the summer.
In fact, the only thing both sides seem to agree on is that negotiations last Friday and Tuesday night made almost no progress.
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Matt Brown shared his frustrations over the situation saying, "We haven't seen the kind of substantive moves that are necessary for these negotiations to move forward to a successful conclusion."
In a news release issued by the city earlier in the day, Brown used strong language, saying, "The unwillingness of the CUPE Local 101 bargaining committee to consider making meaningful compromise with its 'no concessions' position means this strike will drag on unnecessarily.”
But Shelley Navarroli, CUPE Local 101 president, says the bargaining sessons never progressed because the city's team failed to move from its previous position.
"Who's frustrated? We're frustrated. Because we followed what the mayor's message was last Friday and did that on Tuesday and we got nowhere with it...Other than a word change here or there, the intent of what they want, which is control of those items, has not changed."
Art Zuidema, the city manager, seems to confirm there was litte movement, "Our bargaining team has made significant moves earlier on in the process. And there comes a point in time when your ability to move is more restrictive."
The city has offered raises at one per cent for the next three years and 1.1 per cent in 2018, and improvements to eye care benefits and bereavement leave, but with concessions on expanding job hours, early retirement benefits for new employees and changes to job evaluation and promotion policies.
But now on day 17 of the strike, Navarroli says the union has been willing to give, "I've been at the negotiating table each and every time for 14 sessions, the mayor hasn't. So I know exactly what we've done, and exactly what we did on Tuesday was to show compromise."
Both sides say they are willing to talk again if the other side is willing to move substantially.
London's inside workers have been without a contract since December.