FONTHILL - The Niagara Parks Commission has triggered a legal timeline which could result in close to 800 regular and seasonal workers being locked out or on strike May 1.
Niagara Parks is in contract talks with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU). The two sides met in conciliation April 5 - 7 and settled non-monetary items.
Even though the two sides have yet to discuss wages and other money issues, Niagara Parks has asked the Ministry of Labour to issue a “no-board report” which, according to Ontario labour law, triggers a 17-day countdown to a legal lockout or strike if there is no settlement.
The Ministry of Labour has informed the two sides that the legal lockout or strike date is 12:01 a.m. on May 1.
“We’re disappointed that Niagara Parks has started us down the road to a lockout or strike just before the busy summer tourism season,” said OPSEU Local 217 president and bargaining team co-chair Rob Atkin. “A lockout or strike would be devastating to the Niagara Region’s economy.”
The 786 regular and seasonal employees maintain all the parks, buildings, roads and attractions of the 54 km corridor of parkland along the Niagara River from Fort Erie to Niagara-on-the-Lake.
World-famous attractions of Niagara Parks include the Butterfly Conservatory and Journey Behind the Falls.
“We want a settlement, not a strike,” said Atkin. “We thought the two sides were making progress. Now we’re not so sure.”
Niagara Parks and OPSEU resume negotiations April 19 - 22.
For more information:
Rob Atkin (905) 871-8078
Mark Kotanen (647) 229-0376