Rural Ontario mayor imposes his own employment terms on city staff, prompts strike

Mayor threatened to contract out positions, according to union

A rural northern Ontario community’s city staff went on strike today after their mayor bypassed the bargaining process and instead imposed his own terms of employment, according to the union representing those workers.

Just after midnight on Aug. 1, municipal employees in the Township of Bonfield, located just southeast of North Bay, walked off the job after the mayor and town council members attempted to impose the conditions of their latest contract offer, according to the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“After threatening to lock out our members and cancelling all future bargaining dates, the mayor and council have informed workers the township would impose its last contract offer, disregarding the collective bargaining process,” explained Steve Boyle, CUPE’s national representative. “Our members are left with little choice but to go on strike to defend public services and working conditions in the Township of Bonfield.”

Concerns left on the bargaining table include seniority, training, employment security, scheduling, vacation, sick leave and benefits. The union also alleged that the mayor threatened to contract out their positions.

The strike means municipally-run services (think recycling services, by-law enforcement and road maintenance) will be suspended until bargaining resumes.

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