THUNDER BAY - The union representing workers employed by the city of Thunder Bay confirmed extensive layoffs will be taking place.
Dana Vacek, president of CUPE 87, said members were made aware of the temporary layoffs Tuesday evening.
“Our staff started getting calls and there has been, though the employer has avoided using the word layoffs right now, layoffs in every department across the city,” Vacek said.
“We are still waiting for an exact total from the employer. We do know every outside department is running with upward of 30 less staff than they were yesterday.”
The city of Thunder Bay has 29 departments both working inside city hall and outside services.
The layoffs are expected to last for 14 days, but Vacek said the city has not confirmed workers will return after that period.
According to Vacek, the city has also not confirmed if workers will be paid while off the job.
“We have a freely bargained collective agreement that allows for layoff provisions that we hope the employer will honour,” he said. “They did bargain them. My fear is they will look at using other options to not compensate our staff while they are off.”
Vacek added that members are concerned when it comes to being paid and how long they might be off the job.
“The ability to return to work after the fact has been a concern for some members,” he said. “But these are temporary layoffs in nature and there is job protection language and everyone will be returning once this is over.”
Concerns have also been raised by those still on the job and what actions are in place to protect workers.
“The other concern from staff is those who are maintained working and how it is a safe environment,” Vacek said. “Those issues are being handled between us and corporate safety on a regular basis.”
A spokesperson with the city of Thunder Bay said a statement will be released on Wednesday.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.