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CUPE Local 486 disputes City of Saint John's claim of pickets blocking garbage trucks

CUPE pickets stood beside garbage trucks parked on the side of Fairville Bouleveard in Saint John last Wednesday morning. Brittany Doyle, president of the local, says while pickets have been in the area, they have not been blocking trucks. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)
CUPE pickets stood beside garbage trucks parked on the side of Fairville Bouleveard in Saint John last Wednesday morning. Brittany Doyle, president of the local, says while pickets have been in the area, they have not been blocking trucks. (Roger Cosman/CBC - image credit)

The City of Saint John continues to say garbage delays and the pause on compost and recycling are because picketing workers are blocking trucks, but the union says that's not the case.

"We haven't been blocking. We have had a presence there," said Brittany Doyle, president of CUPE Local 486, which represents the city's inside workers, when referring to the area of Fairville Boulevard.

She said members are allowed to picket any secondary work location or city asset, which is why strikers have been in the Fairville Boulevard area. She said part of the area has been blocked off with sanitation trucks parked there.

On Monday, the city announced a suspension on compost and recycling pickup "until further notice," citing strike activities as the reason for the delay.

The city will begin delivering the 180L garbage containers (left) and the two 80L recycling containers on September 12.
The city will begin delivering the 180L garbage containers (left) and the two 80L recycling containers on September 12.

The city suspended compost and recycling pickup until further notice as of Monday. (City of Saint John )

Michael Hugenholtz, commissioner of public works and transportation for the city, told CBC News on Tuesday that pickets have been at the Fairville Boulevard temporary staging area, depots and the landfill.

"We do see picketers from Local 486 that are showing up to disrupt the movements of our trucks," he said.

Doyle said members of the union have been compliant with police while picketing and no issues have been brought to her regarding safety.

She said the garbage trucks have been able to get out and haven't been sitting there all day.

Hugenholtz said the city has been working with legal counsel and communicating with police to "get our operations moving as much as possible," because he doesn't believe the striking workers are allowed at some of the locations where they are picketing.

Doyle says she hasn't heard anything about legal ramifications from the city.

"We're doing everything that, you know, that's in our legal right to strike. We're not doing anything illegal, we've been fully compliant," she said.

Doyle also said Tuesday that the union has verbally declined the city's latest offer and they maintain their position that the city needs to increase the wage offer to get them back at the table.