Indoor city workers vote to strike if pay equity, work-life balance concerns not met

·2 min read
Indoor workers at the city of Windsor have taken a strike vote.  (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)
Indoor workers at the city of Windsor have taken a strike vote. (Jason Viau/CBC - image credit)

Bylaw enforcement officers, social service workers and building inspectors are some of the City of Windsor employees who have voted in favour of a strike if their concerns aren't addressed.

According to the union, CUPE Local 543, 77 per cent of its membership has agreed to move forward with a strike, but no official date or deadline has been set.

Union president David Petten told CBC News that his members want to be properly compensated, have a better work-life balance and move into full-time positions.

"We have members that are facing low morale, fatigue, burnout, that there's a real impact on individual mental health and wellness in terms of the workloads they're carrying and we're seeing recruitment and retention issues," Petten said.

He said with 70 per cent of his roughly 1,400 members being women, pay equity is a top concern.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

In an emailed statement, Jason Moore, the city's senior manager of communications and customer service, said, "We value all employees and we continue to negotiate with Local 543 to achieve a fair agreement."

Pay equity has been a challenge before

Petten said the city is not being seen as a "preferred employer" and that people are leaving the city for other opportunities.

He said many of the female workers are not considered full time as they are working 33.25 hours a week and the city has "ignored" pay equity issues.

"We've had challenges in the past concerning pay equity and the city has always taken it to the Nth degree in terms of challenging it rather than accepting that they violated the act and address the issue," he said.

"It's just astonishing to me that a government entity would seek to suppress women's wages. It's just shocking to me, I don't understand it, but it seems it's a continued tradition that the city is more than willing to carry on."

The union said its membership has been without a collective agreement since the end of last year.

Petten said they are not looking to stop working, but hope the city meets their demands.