Revelstoke city workers hope strike vote sends message

Wage increases to meet rising cost of living among issues CUPE 363 hopes to address at the bargaining table.

City crews and contractors clear snow from Victoria Road during a windy snowstorm. Photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

Revelstoke city workers unionized under CUPE local 363 hope the recent announcement they support strike action will send a clear message to management and council.

So far, the union has not been able to set bargaining dates with management, which is necessary to negotiate the terms of a new collective agreement. The city’s unionized workers have been without a collective agreement since the old one expired in December 2018.

Jesse Adam, CUPE 363 president, said the decision didn’t come lightly, but with the cost of living continuing to increase it’s become an affordability issue.

A city worker cleans the sheet between periods at the Revelstoke Forum. File photo: Aaron Orlando/Revelstoke Mountaineer Magazine

“We feel our workers are falling behind. We’ve given the employer every opportunity to reach a fair settlement,” Adam told the Mountaineer, noting the increases workers are seeking are below those given to city management and the increases recently proposed for city councillors.

“Our crews really care about the community. We want to make sure the community is safe, but at the same time the city needs to pay accordingly. We’re everyone’s friends, family, neighbours. We’re part of the community and we take pride in the work we do.”

While the official announcement that CUPE 363 workers had voted in favour of strike action came late on Wednesday, January 22, Adam said the vote had actually taken place on Tuesday, January 21.

Adam said the union has yet to hear back from anyone in city management or on council. At this time no decision has been made on whether city workers will take any actual strike action.

If the union opts to strike, they are required to provide 72-hour notice before stopping non-essential services.

The Mountaineer also reached out to City of Revelstoke management, but did not hear back by our deadline at the end of day Jan. 23. In addition, we submitted questions about the recent senior staff raise referenced in the CUPE 363 media release, but were referred to mandatory city staff salary disclosure documents from 2019 which contain salary information from 2018.

We will continue to follow this story as it unfolds.

Correction: A previous version of this story listed Jesse Adams’ first name incorrectly.