County Council to keep money saved from strike

Filed under: IN THE NEWS |

Editorial NOTE: Please note, in the article County Council to keep money saved from strike, CUPE 2974 spokesperson Lori Wightman stated, “I found it odd that (Lakeshore) Mayor Bain would vote against what his Council wanted. The same with the Mayor of Amherstburg.” It was the Deputy Mayor of Amherstburg, not the Mayor.

 

by Fred Groves

Money saved from the longest strike ever in this region will be banked and used for building upgrades.
At the Essex County Council meeting last Wednesday, it was decided the $790,000 saved from the 231-day CUPE strike will not be returned to individual municipalities. Instead, the County will hang on to it and use it to fix up its library branches.

The decision does not sit well with CUPE 2974 spokesperson Lori Wightman, who believes the money should be returned to the municipalities.

“I don’t understand it. They say it’s money for the libraries, but the municipalities own the libraries,” Wightman said.

She noted one reason the librarians were on strike from October 2016 to June 2017 was to bring attention to the fact it should not be County Council running the libraries, but that the library board should be governed separately.

Wightman noted several of the library branches seem to be in good shape, but who and how it will be decided where the money will now go remains a question.

“It opens up a whole can of worms. How do you decide? Does Amherstburg get more because its library is the oldest?”

During the strike, three county municipalities, Essex, Amherstburg, and Lakeshore, made it known any money saved from the strike should be returned to the individual municipalities.

During last Monday night’s Essex Council meeting, Councillor Randy Voakes urged the municipality’s County Council reps Mayor Ron McDermott and Deputy Mayor Richard Meloche to reiterate Essex Council’s wish: that the taxpayers’ money be returned to municipalities.

(Calls to Meloche from the Free Press were not returned).

At the County Council session last week, the vote was 8-5 in keeping the money within the county budget.

“I found it odd that (Lakeshore) Mayor Bain would vote against what his Council wanted. The same with the Mayor of Amherstburg,” Wightman said.