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The Mississauga New - Sunday, November 21, 1999 - #1
Municipality wants to educate workers on 'major decision'
New union tries to break in at City Hall
By JOHN STEWART - Staff
There could be a new union representing about 90 employees at the City of Mississauga, depending on the results of an upcoming Ministry of Labor hearing.
On Thursday, 50 custodians and maintenance workers at City Hall, the Central Library and the Living Arts Centre voted 30-20 to join the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace. Workers (IAMAW) Another 38 employees, skilled tradespersons such as electricians and carpenters, also voted but their votes were set aside and not counted.
There is a dispute between the municipality and the union about which of those employees are being requested to join the union.
The union says asked for only tradespeople working at City Hall to be included, while the municipality contends the tradespeople who work at a satellite office on Erindale Station Rd. should also be allowed to vote. A conciliation session will be held Dec. 9 on the items in dispute, With a hearing before the board scheduled Dec. 13 if the sides cannot reach an amicable agreement.
Walter Brown, of the Machinists Union, said Friday, "we won the ballots in the. box, but not necessarily the Unit.
Both Brown and Joseph Curto, a City employee who helped sign up workers to join the union, feel senior Mississauga staff tried to dissuade. employees from organizing. "I've never seen, such a bunch of educated people so seared," Curto told. The News. "What are they scared of ?" [ 1 ]
Several pieces of correspondence from City. Manager Dave O'Brien were followed by an information, meeting for staff, notes Curto. "They kept saying ‘think what you're doing.'"
The purpose of the information meeting was "to persuade them not to vote for the union," says Brown. "They're very subtle though," says Brown. "I have to be fair and say, they never actually said don't join the union."
Louise Riddell, human resources administrator for the City, denies that it has an anti-union bent. "The City is not anti-union. We simply want the employees to realize it's a major decision," she says. The intent was also to make all employees aware of the upcoming vote so the best result could be obtained. Fifty of 57 custodial and maintenance employees turned out for the vote. Riddell said the letters from O'Brien urged employees to ask themselves several questions before they joined the union.
There were queries such as "What is this union all about?; How much will this cost me each year? ; and Do I need a union to get improvements?"
The intent of the meeting was "to give them factual information, not to dissuade them," Riddell said.
Brown told The News that it likely that charges of unfair labor practice may be filed with the Labor Board by both the union and the City.
[COMMENTS BY DON B. - general speaking the "Missing News" doesn't cover the issue fully of accuracy and with a City basis. Often this is found in the fact the City's comments are reported with out comment as to how reasonable they are.
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