The Cowichan Valley Regional District and Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 358 are in crunch time to get a deal done or face strike action.

C.U.P.E. and the C.V.R.D. failed to reach a deal through mediation and at the request of both parties, the mediator put together a report, issued that report and union members endorsed the recommendations from that report.

However, last week the C.V.R.D. board rejected the recommendations and C.U.P.E. Lead Negotiator, Ian McLean says if an agreement isn’t reached at the next meeting on Monday, January 29, the worst case scenario may play out.

C.U.P.E. Lead Negotiator, Ian McLean remains optimistic that a deal will get done.

McLean says there has never been a work stoppage for C.U.P.E. union members in the Cowichan Valley and if this is the first, it will be a sad day.

The City of Duncan inked a new two-year deal, while C.U.P.E. workers in North Cowichan have a four-year deal in place.

The negotiation process was spurred on by the provincial government’s decision to cut the Medical Services Plan premiums by 50 percent on January 1.

Union members have been looking for some of those cost-savings to be injected into their benefits.

The C.V.R.D. employs approximately 175 union workers.