Town of Hay River members had no choice but to walk away from negotiations Wednesday because there was no fair or reasonable offer on the table.
Hours later, the Town issued an open letter to members inviting them to cross their own picket line and return to work for less than they were being offered at the bargaining table – and with the promise that union dues would be taken off their salaries.
Members sent a fiery response back to mayor, burning the Town’s letter outside the Fire Hall.
“Normally I would tell the mayor to put this [letter] where the sun don’t shine,” says Robyn Benson, Public Service Alliance of Canada National President. “But since we can’t, we’ll burn his bloody offer.”
By inviting members to cross their own picket line and return to work, the mayor plans to divide the community instead of working together to end the strike.
“It’s upsetting that they’re trying to divide coworkers, friends and their families by asking them to cross the picket line,” says Emma Harper, event coordinator for the Town of Hay River.
Every day, workers explain to their bargaining team what they’re looking for, and the team won’t bring back an offer they’ll refuse.
“Our workers are the bargaining team, and we are the union,” says Harper. “We’re behind the team every step of the way.”
Workers and the union are always willing to return to the table and negotiate for a fair deal that covers the rising cost of living in the North, but the Town has only offered the team an ultimatum, with no room to bargain fairly.
“The Town’s offer was the most disappointing thing ever,” says strike captain Kim Tybring. “We’ve been standing out in the cold for three weeks just to get an ultimatum. It’s unprofessional.”