City of Winnipeg employees could be on strike again following tentative deal confusion

City of Winnipeg employees could once again be heading back to the picket lines after confusion over a tentative deal with the city.

CUPE Local 500, the union that represents around 5,000 city employees, announced on Monday that a tentative agreement with the city had been reached pending the approval of the Executive Policy Committee (EPC).

The union said it agreed to pause the strike pending an EPC meeting within 48 hours.

However, on Tuesday morning, Michael Jack, the CAO for the city, said no agreement had been reached.

“The City is seeking clarity from CUPE regarding the statement issued,” Jack said. “We acknowledge that this latest development is a confusing one for our employees and for Winnipeggers who rely on our programs and services. The City remains hopeful that it can reach a settlement with the union without a labour disruption.”

CUPE said Tuesday afternoon that it was shocked and disheartened to hear the comments from Jack, noting it contradicts the agreement that happened through the conciliation process.

“If the CAO has unilaterally decided that a tentative agreement pending EPC approval has not been achieved through the conciliation process, CUPE 500 will file an Unfair Labour Practice with the Manitoba Labour Board that the City has been bargaining in bad faith,” CUPE said in a statement Tuesday afternoon.

“If the City’s official position is that a tentative agreement pending EPC approval has not been achieved, CUPE 500 will proceed with strike action for Wednesday morning, 12:01 a.m., as planned.”

CUPE 500 members voted to strike on July 12 and negotiations for a new contract have been underway since March 10, 2021.

– With files from CTV News’ Michael D’Alimonte

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