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Revelstoke city workers vote to strike after councillor resigns while trying to stop council pay raise

Revelstoke councillor resigns amid council pay increase controversy
The possibility of pay raises for Revelstoke City council has prompted a divisive controversy in the mountain community. One councillor resigned this week after failing to convince the majority of his colleagues to give up the raises.

Unionized city workers in Revelstoke have voted to strike, shortly after a city councillor resigned after failing to stop a pay raise for the city’s politicians.

On CUPE BC’s website, CUPE 363 said its members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking job action following a year of contract talks.

The strike vote happened Tuesday night, with 54 members voting for strike action and one against.

The union said no significant progress has been made in bargaining a fair collective agreement, while noting that the last agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2018.

The news also came following a council meeting on Tuesday, when city councillor Steven Cross resigned after failing to convince Mayor Gary Sulz and fellow councilors to rethink a pay hike over a three-year span.

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READ MORE: Revelstoke, B.C., city councillor resigns in protest over pay raises

According to Cross, that proposal amounted to a 134 per cent pay raise for the mayor and a 67 per cent pay raise for city councilors.

On Nov. 7, city council gathered to discuss a motion for a pay raise, which was passed 5-1, with only Cross voting against.

During a three-year span, the pay raise will see the mayor’s wage rise from $30,600 to $70,000, while councillor rates will rise from $15,300 to $25,000.

On Wednesday, CUPE 363 issued the press release, with local president Jesse Adam saying while workers in Revelstoke are facing an affordability crisis, city council voted itself a pay raise.

“Our members have been more than patient with the mayor and council, and we have given them every opportunity to do the right thing,” said Adam, noting its members are proud to serve Revelstoke but are falling behind workers in other communities.

Adam continued, saying “considering the significant raises the mayor and council gave themselves and city management, the modest increases our members are asking for are clearly fair and reasonable.”

READ MORE: How much does your mayor make? Okanagan council salaries all over the map

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CUPE 363 says it represents approximately 100 members who provide a wide variety of municipal services in Revelstoke.

Statistics Canada says Revelstoke had a population of 6,719 in 2016.

The City of Revelstoke says it is aware of the strike vote, but says it plans on continuing talks with the union.