I am writing in response to Mayor Repen’s recent comments [published Nov. 1] about negotiations between the Village of Telkwa and CUPE Local 1570-02 because as CUPE’s lead negotiator I feel it is very important to clarify a few points for residents and business owners.
First, I want to say that we are extremely disappointed that the Mayor has chosen to address negotiations through the media instead of at the bargaining table. We find this tactic totally counterproductive to concluding contract negotiations.
Next, we want residents to know that the union is not currently considering any strike action. For Mayor Repen to imply that there is a “looming threat of a work stoppage” is simply inaccurate, and again does nothing to help the parties get closer to concluding negotiations.
Finally, we want all taxpayers to be clear about what the Village has offered their employees — a three-year contract with no wage increase in any of the three years. CUPE 1570-02’s six members are a key part of the team that keep Telkwa running, and in our view they are the Village’s partner in providing community services. An offer with no wage increase sends a clear message that the Village doesn’t share this view, and the Mayor telling taxpayers that the Village has offered “the same compensation package as that which was in place in 2016” is misleading.
We hope that Mayor Repen will reconsider his position on bargaining and focus his attention on resolving negotiations in the proper venue — at the bargaining table and not in the newspaper or on Facebook. CUPE remains committed to resolving negotiations and that is where our focus will be from here on out.