City letter about possible CUPE strike sent in error

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Some Winnipeggers who signed up for swimming lessons and other leisure guide programs were accidentally told the city isn’t responsible for any inconvenience they suffer, should city workers go on strike.

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Some Winnipeggers who signed up for swimming lessons and other leisure guide programs were accidentally told the city isn’t responsible for any inconvenience they suffer, should city workers go on strike.

On Thursday, the city sent a notice addressed to “City of Winnipeg Recreation Services Customers,” which notes the government is preparing for a possible labour disruption and may not be able to fulfil its recreation agreements if that occurs.

“City services, functions and support may be unavailable during this time. It is unknown what the effect of the labour disruption will be on the city’s ability to perform the terms of the agreement. The city is not responsible for any inconvenience, nuisance, or discomfort this may cause you,” the document states.

CUPE Local 500 / TWITTER

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500, the city’s largest union, recently set up a strike headquarters to prepare for possible job action.

It also warns recipients, “you may have to cross a picket line in order to access any city property,” should a strike take place.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500, the city’s largest union, recently set up a strike headquarters to prepare for possible job action. The union represents about 4,900 City of Winnipeg workers, who staff key services at pools, libraries, 311, public works and water and waste.

The workers voted 93 per cent in favour of a strike mandate in July but have yet to walk off the job.

The city notice was posted on social media, where a Reddit user highlighted the claim the city is “not responsible” for the potential disruption. Some commenters blamed the city for not paying workers enough to avoid the threat of labour action.

One post deemed the letter redundant, alleging parents are already aware “the city is not responsible for inconvenience” following lengthy delays to sign up for leisure guide swimming lessons last month.

In a written statement, a city spokesperson said the email was accidentally sent to some residents who signed up for recreation activities, when it was meant solely for city recreation contractors.

“The city distributed this letter in error to residents who hold memberships at our recreation facilities and a segment of residents registered for leisure guide programming. We will be issuing a correction, letting them know that the city will honour the terms and conditions of their memberships and program registrations in the event of a labour disruption,” wrote Felicia Wiltshire, the city’s director of communications.

Wiltshire said the city has started efforts to maintain critical and essential services should a strike occur.

However, the statement deemed it premature to speak about possible service disruptions, should workers walk off the job.

Joyanne.pursaga@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @joyanne_pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga
Reporter

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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