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Winnipeg union weighs in on City Hall safety concerns

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg union weighs in on City Hall safety concerns'
Winnipeg union weighs in on City Hall safety concerns
The Canadian Union for Public Employees Local 500, is weighing in on the conversation about safety concerns at Winnipeg's City Hall and will file a grievance with the city – Jan 31, 2024

The Canadian Union for Public Employees Local 500, is weighing in on the conversation about safety concerns at Winnipeg’s City Hall.

Concerns were sparked after a shooting at Edmonton, Alberta’s City Hall last week, with two city councillors are raising red flags about their workplace. CUPE Local 500 president, Gord Delbridge, said he’s not surprised to hear alarm bells ringing.

“There’s been many incidents that have taken place at City Hall. To be honest with you, I’m kind of more surprised that something hasn’t been done sooner,” he said.

On Monday, Councillor Janice Lukes told 680CJOB she had been trying to have security measures improved in the building for almost a decade.

Delbridge said CUPE Local 500 is filing a grievance with the city, which will suggest an external review. “If the City of Winnipeg doesn’t have the expertise to be dealing with this as of right now, they should bring somebody on, to consult, and put something in place. Now,” he said.

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Delbridge says he’s also writing a letter to Mayor Scott Gillingham, and council, expressing the union’s concerns.

“Everyone wants to feel safe in their workplace, and it’s a responsibility for the employer to ensure that,” he said.

In a previous statement, the City of Winnipeg said that it takes the safety of those in City Hall seriously, and has several security measures in place, including “card access, visitor sign-in, and security guards.”

On Tuesday, the city’s Chief Administrative Officer told 680CJOB it’s looking to hire a security coordinator.

“I hope that this is an issue that’s being taken seriously. And (that) they’ll be implementing some necessary resources to ensure it’s a safe environment for everyone,” Delbridge said.

The issue of safety extends beyond City Hall’s walls, and to other public service workers.

Karin Borland, the manager of Library Services for the Winnipeg Public Library, told 680CJOB crime is down at the Millennium Library, but it’s up at other locations.

Back in November 2022, the month before the fatal stabbing of Tyree Cayer, she said the Millennium Library represented 85 per cent of all reported incidents. By the same time in 2023, that number plummeted to just 56 per cent, as per a new report shown before a committee in City Hall.

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The difference, Borland said, is increased security.

“There has been progress with welcoming community safety hosts, additional security guards, that tape of safety measure. Now we are regrouping and looking at some statistics and responding to council’s request for a quarterly report. ”

She said getting more security guards and safety hosts are on the priority for other libraries, as well as training for staff to better equip them for various interactions.

Click to play video: 'City councillor calls for improved safety measures at City Hall'
City councillor calls for improved safety measures at City Hall

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