The New Democrats announced that the province’s Medical Services Plan would be reduced by 50 percent, effective January 1, 2018, and C.U.P.E. municipal workers are looking at taking strike action.
C.U.P.E. Local 358 is still without a contract after a number of unsuccessful talks with the Cowichan Valley Regional District, the City of Duncan, and the Municipality of North Cowichan.
C.U.P.E. national representative and lead negotiator, Ian McLean says the reduction in the M.S.P. premiums has resulted in cost savings and employees want that money to be directed at benefits.
McLean says the Municipality of North Cowichan hasn’t taken a strike vote, but that day is coming.
With the cost savings coming from the M.S.P. premiums being reduced, C.U.P.E. workers want that money to be injected into employee benefits.
McLean says, the idea isn’t to get all that money back, just something that’s fair for employees and something that’s affordable for employers.
C.U.P.E. and the C.V.R.D. have two mediation dates set for November 14 and 27, while the local union meets with the Municipality of North Cowichan on November 22.
McLean says some people think that C.U.P.E. is always on strike, adding that the local union has never had a labour stoppage in the Cowichan Valley.