Hundreds of Halifax Water Workers On Strike

Water systems “have to keep operating” despite 335 unionized employees walking off the job over contract dispute

More than 300 unionized workers at the Halifax Regional Water Commission have been off the job for over a week in what the utility describes as an ongoing labor strike by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Locals 227 and 1431.

Workers formed a picket line outside the utility’s headquarters in Halifax, Nova Scotia, around 8 a.m. on Tuesday, May 19. Changes to the employee pensions are the main issue in the contract dispute.

Non-unionized employees and private contractors are available to operate all facilities, provide essential services and perform any emergency work while the two sides continue negotiations says James Campbell, a spokesman for the agency, also known as Halifax Water.

“We don’t have the option of shutting off the water system, the wastewater system or the stormwater system,” Campbell told CBC News. “These systems have to keep operating. So, if folks are concerned that this afternoon or tomorrow or the next day or however long this goes that their water, wastewater or stormwater systems won’t operate, they needn’t be.”

Halifax Water has about 400 employees and serves approximately 81,000 customers. The utility operates eight water supply plants, nearly 200 pumping stations and 15 wastewater treatment facilities.

“I’m sure that Halifax Water doesn’t want 335 of their employees out of the building,” Heather Corkum, president of Local 1431, said last week. “They have to be able to run the utility. And we’re highly qualified, technical employees that have done that for them.”

Source: CBC News


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