City of Edmonton Applies to Lock Out Library, City Workers

City says it won't act on lockout mandate "unless it is required" — EPL staff overwhelmingly support strike action

The City of Edmonton has raised the stakes in its ongoing labour dispute with Civic Service Union 52 (CSU 52). The City has confirmed it is seeking approval to hold lockout voting against the union.

In an email sent on February 9, representatives from the City of Edmonton confirmed an application has been made to the Alberta Labour Relations Board (ALRB) for approval to conduct a lockout poll (vote).

“This is in response to CSU 52 applying for, and holding, a strike vote,” said Charity Dyke, a strategic services director with the City.

Strike voting is currently underway by City employees in CSU. Voting ended Friday for EPL staff — they voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike, with 93 per cent voter turnout.

CSU 52 began conducting a strike vote of EPL members on February 6, with City employee membership holding their voting from February 9 to 12.

In the event of a successful lockout poll, the City would need to provide CSU 52 members with 72 hours’ notice before any actual work stoppage. The City would have up to 120 days within which to implement the lockout order.

But the City said it doesn’t intend to close the doors to employees unless required.

“The City does not plan to lock out CSU 52 members unless it is required to minimize and manage the disruption a strike is causing to City services,” Dyke said.

Much like a strike, lockouts are traditionally used by employers to try to persuade — or intimidate — union membership to accept the terms of a particular offer or agreement after negotiations have broken down.