Town of Ponoka, AUPE set to resume negotiations in July

Town council rejected agreement reached between administration and union

Responding to a strike vote, the Town of Ponoka and the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees have agreed to resume negotiations.

Last week, AUPE Local 118, Chapter 004, which represents more than 60 members who work for the Town of Ponoka, voted overwhelmingly to strike.

In a Thursday release from the town, Mayor Rick Bonnett said “it is our wish to keep the dialogue open and try to find a way forward.”

Negotiations are set to resume during the week following Canada Day. The strike vote triggered a 120-day window for the town’s AUPE employees to strike, after first giving 72-hours notice.

An AUPE press release, said the the union and town administration had shook hands on a fair contract, but it was town council that rejected the deal.

“While the Ponoka Stampede falls within our 120-day strike window, it is not our intention to disrupt the event, or indeed, any town services,” said Karen Weiers, AUPE vice-president. “Our members live and work in this town and they care about the quality of life in Ponoka, just like everyone else.”

Town CAO Albert Flootman said the town is prepared and has a contingency plan in place if a strike were to occur.

“We certainly hope a strike doesn’t happen, but we have to be prepared for that possibility,” said Flootman. “Our contingency plan will ensure that we can continue to provide essential services to our residents.”

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