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MEDIA ADVISORY: September 10, 2021, CUPE Local 1349 – Open Letter to the People Of Grand

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ST. JOHN’S, Newfoundland and Labrador–(BUSINESS WIRE)–On September 28th, you will be asked to make a decision that will shape the future of our beloved community and set a foundation for future generations in our hometown.

We have been through tough situations before and each time we have come out stronger. We can do that again.

A milestone in the town’s history was reached in 1991, when two communities became one and Grand Falls-Windsor was created. It was a divisive issue at the time, but we were able to overcome it. Trust and respect helped create relationships, where strangers became neighbours, and unity created new friendships.

The pulp and paper industry was the foundation on which our community was built. It was a pillar that created many employment opportunities. When it closed its doors, many were concerned that it would lead to an economic downturn. Despite the uncertainty, our community banded together and helped move the town forward.

More recently, all of us have been dealing with a global pandemic that brought many aspects of our lives to a standstill. Despite the stress and challenges, workers (including our members) remained on the frontlines, serving residents and the community. We had to find new ways to connect and support each other. Thankfully, life is slowly returning to normal.

We have maintained that we will not bargain in public and will not do that now. We have chosen to speak to you, the community, at this time because we cannot remain silent when the labour dispute moves into personal attacks on the integrity of our members – who are your sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, daughters, sons, parents, grandparents, community leaders, coaches, teammates, and friends.

We are proud of our town. However, we are not proud of how some members of the town council have chosen to use this very difficult time as an opportunity to promote themselves and diminish others. They have been putting out intentionally deceptive social media posts aimed at turning residents against us, pitting the public against unions, and neighbours against neighbours.

We believe a deal that is fair to both workers and the town can be reached without shredding the collective agreement that those who came before us negotiated in good faith.

Let us not forget that we were locked out by the current mayor and town councillors.

The next town council will be elected in less than three weeks, and they will need to be able to work with us to resolve this labour dispute. They will also need to work hard to repair the damage that has been done to the spirit of our beautiful community.

We need a council that listens, that is respectful, that wants to work together with town employees, and that will unite our community. We believe that there are candidates who can do that.

The advance polls will open on September 18th and Election Day is September 28th.

Regardless of your opinion, we need you to vote.

In solidarity,

CUPE Local 1349

:dac/cope491

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