Workers need contract

  • Jul. 28, 2004 7:00 p.m.

Editor, Sir;
An open letter to village of Masset residents.
It’s all about keeping our community strong.
What does it take to keep a community strong? It takes citizens that are willing and able to stand up and speak out for what is right. It takes people respecting each other’s needs and interests. It takes neighbours that look out for each other and recognize that what is good for one is good for all.
One such neighbour is councillor Rollie Wheeler.
On behalf of Masset’s village workers, I’d like to applaud councillor Wheeler for his community spirit and sense of fairness in his decision not to accept a raise until the village reaches an agreement with its unionized village workers about their wages.
I’d also like to thank him for reminding Mayor and Council that they need to get back to the table and negotiate a fair collective agreement. Our contract expired seven months ago!
It is a courageous announcement and one that recognizes the value of the work that we do and our contribution to Masset.
We are proud to say that we are the ones that keep Masset’s drinking water safe and make ourselves available for any emergencies, like a broken water line and sewage blockages. We also keep the airport open in the wintertime for medical evacuations, clear the runway and streets free of snow and ice and make community events like Harbour Days possible through spring clean up, maintenance, and pickup. These are only some of the ways that we contribute to making our community strong.
Everyone deserves respect and appreciation in their job. Masset village workers understand what it is like to get paid substantially less than our counterparts in surrounding communities. On average we make about 20 percent less than workers in Pacific North West communities.
It is with this understanding that we support Mayor and Council’s efforts to raise their pay in line with their colleagues in comparable communities, and ask that the same respect for equality be afforded to Masset village workers.
Our community has bled enough. From provincial budget cuts that threaten our public education and health care to economic difficulties in our core industries. What we can do as a community is stick together, show mutual respect for the work we do, and communicate. Let’s get back to the bargaining table, negotiate a fair collective agreement, and keep our community strong!

Ralph Lamorie
CUPE 105-3
(Ralph has served the village of Masset for the past seven years and is the chief water plant operator and superintendent of public works. He represents Masset’s six unionized village workers that provide quality public services to the community.)