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CUPE workers vote to strike

Kelowna's unionized workers have given their bargaining committee an overwhelming strike mandate.

Members of CUPE Local 338 voted 94 per cent in favour of job action Wednesday night.

The City of Kelowna workers have been without a contract since Dec 31, 2013.

"Now the real work begins for us to get back to the bargaining table," local president Lee Mossman said in a brief email confirming the results.

In a note to members, Mossman said negotiations on a new contract have reached an impasse and, "given the separation between the parties it was best to go back to the membership for direction and suspend bargaining until they received that direction."

The last agreement between CUPE and the city was reached in January of 2011 and afforded workers a 1.25% increase in 2010 and 2011 followed by a 1.5% increase in 2012 and 2013.

It took more than a year to negotiate that contract.

A deal in that case was finally reached through the assistance of a mediator.

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