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Striking workers bar Coun. Meyer from entering city hall

Striking civic workers stopped a councillor from entering city hall Monday night in advance of that evening's council meeting.

Coun. Grant Meyer, whose full-time job is with BC Ferries and is a member of the BC Ferry and Marine Workers' Union, was denied entry by striking CUPE 402-01 workers.

According to Meyer, he spoke to his union about crossing the picket line earlier in the day and it was recommended he seek a picket pass from the striking CUPE members. After being told that he would be granted a pass by one of the picket captains, Meyer said he returned later in the evening to find that he would not in fact be allowed through.

Instead, Meyer spent most of the council meeting outside of city hall in his truck, explaining to residents why he was unable to cross.

"It left a bad taste in their mouths. Some were saying they were obstructing democracy. Most of them agreed it was pretty silly that the union wouldn't issue me a pass to attend the meeting," he said. "I feel really bad, the citizens elected me to come and serve the city and make decisions and I'm being prohibited from doing that. It's not right."

CUPE 402-01 President Mike Guraliuk said he wasn't present when Meyer was denied a pass, but noted the councillor should not be crossing picket lines.

Mayor Wayne Baldwin said Meyer should have been able to enter city hall as an employer.

"I would maintain that Coun. Meyer has taken an oath and is a member of council and as such is an employer and therefore has an obligation to perform and carry out his duties as a member of council," said Baldwin. "Should it have resulted in a cancelled council meeting due to a lack of quorum or something, that would have been very unfortunate and something we'd have had to hold the union responsible for."

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