Union to fight Winnipeg plan to force workers to take unpaid days off

A union says the City of Winnipeg is being the Grinch for wanting to force employees to take 3 1/2 unpaid days off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

WINNIPEG — A union says the City of Winnipeg is being the Grinch for wanting to force employees to take 3 1/2 unpaid days off between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 has given the city notice of its intention to file a grievance over the plan that would save the city about $1.5 million this year.

CUPE 500 president Mike Davidson says the unpaid days off would be a breach of contract and would hamper the city’s ability to deliver services.

City council finance chairman Russ Wyatt, who came up with the plan, says he expected the union’s reaction.

Wyatt says Winnipeg is a big-government city in a big-union province.

He also says unions have too much power.

“Let’s be frank: Today, we have a city council that is directly or indirectly controlled by the union,” he said.

A majority of council supported the cost-saving measure in a 9-7 vote in December.

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