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Union calls for 2010 strike vote
by Bill Robinson

Contract talks between the Niagara Parks Commission and the union representing its employees have broken down, with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union Local 217 calling for a strike vote early in the new year. OPSEU Local 217, which represents roughly 600 full-time and seasonal NPC employees, has been without a contract since Oct. 31, 2009.

A statement issued by staff representative and OPSEU negotiator Pati Habermann last Friday said the Parks Commission had tabled concession demands and filed for conciliation. The union announced it would hold a strike vote in early January. “Despite the best attempts of the bargaining team, the employer has refused to entertain any substantial union proposals. Citing ‘philosophical differences,’ the employer will not respond to issues such as job security, scheduling, seniority and hours of work, issues identified as being top priorities for employees,” Habermann said. “The employer’s position so far is to table concessions in layoff language, benefits scheduling, leaves and an attempt to introduce a two-tier wage system for seasonal members.” more…

Curtain of secrecy lifting to reveal secrets inside Niagara Parks Commission

First of all, congratulations to Niagara Parks Commissioners for voting in favour of opening their meetings to the public and the media. Quite a novel idea for public lands, we guess.

Vince Kerrio made the motion that was supported by his colleagues. This was the right thing to do and should have been done a long time ago. This newspaper has been calling for this type of openness and transparency for years.

But Kerrio’s rationale for calling the vote – because he felt he (and fellow commissioners) have been unjustly criticized lately -is curious, to say the least.

more…