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Council of Canadians in solidarity with CUPE water workers in Halifax

Halifax city hall

Photo: Angela Giles speaks at rally. Photo by Tori Ball.

The Council of Canadians stands in solidarity with CUPE locals 1431 and 227 Halifax Water workers in their struggle for a fair pension plan.

On Monday, the union filed a 48-hour strike notice that puts them in a legal position to go on strike as of today.

The Chronicle Herald reports, “Heather Corkum, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 1431, representing 105 inside workers, said the strike notice was filed as a last resort. ‘We felt that our backs were against the wall’, Corkum said. ‘We had to exercise our legal right of putting in notice.’ She said both the inside workers and the 230 outside workers that are part of CUPE Local 227 hope to get back to the table. ‘We definitely intend to bargain with the employer. We were not finished negotiating. The employer finished with us.'”

The Halifax Media Coop notes, “The 335 Halifax Water workers, members of Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 1431 and 227, are especially upset about deep cuts to their pension plan proposed by the utility’s senior management.” And CTV adds, “The union claims that while present retirees won’t be affected by proposed changes, future pensioners will pay a steep-price. ‘The employer has offered us a few options that range from an immediate 12.5 per cent cut to our future benefits to up to a 33 per cent cut to our future benefits’, said Corkum. The unions say the plan can be saved without gutting it. ‘With some modest changes, we could actually save Halifax Water $25 million over the next 15 years’, Corkum said.”

About 250 people rallied at City Hall in Halifax on Tuesday in support of the Halifax Water workers.

Council of Canadians organizers Angela Giles and Tori Ball were both present at this rally. Speaking to those assembled, Giles said, “If the Harper government would actually provide proper infrastructure funding then we wouldn’t be looking at hard working water workers to lower wages and cut pensions so that structural upgrades can happen.”

For more, please see the CUPE 1431 Facebook page here.