Saturday, 7 April 2012

Developments in the City’s Negotiations with CUPE 79

With CUPE Local 79 rejecting the City’s latest offer it would be best to examine exactly where the city and CUPE stand at this point time. First; a little bit of context. Local 79 represents the City’s inside workers; literally referring to employees that work inside. After weeks of negotiations, the City put forth a ‘final’ offer. Deputy Mayor Doug Holyday has refused any further discussion on the matter. With that in mind, Local 79 has not ruled out a strike should a deal fail to be reached. A strike has the potential to put the city to a standstill. However, it does appear a tentative deal has been reached by the negotiating teams. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed and City Council and Local 79 still have to ratify it.

But let us break down the most recent deal. There are three primary points of contention. First, regarding the issue of job security, the City wants to protect only permanent workers with fifteen years or more seniority from contracting out. Local 79 have countered with a request of protection for those with ten years service; which would be 70% of the local. This is the same proportion of members given protection under the City’s previous deal with Local 416, the City’s outside workers.

Secondly, there is the issue of sick time. The City is proposing docking employees a day’s pay for every fourth sick day taken. Local 79 is requesting to put this restriction on hold in favour of independent action to curb absenteeism, which would be the same deal given to Local 416.

And finally, is the issue of mileage. This refers to distance travelled in an employee’s own vehicle while working. The City is offering to reimburse members of the union $0.52 per kilometre for the first 5,000 kilometres and $0.46 per kilometre thereafter. Local 416 did agree to this provision. Local 79 has refused to.

However, it’s not all bad news. There are a number of issues in to which Local 79 and the City have come to agreement. On the issue of salary there is an agreement of a 0% raise in 2012; a 0.5% raise plus a 1.5% lump sum in 2013; a 1.75% raise in 2014; and a 2.25% raise in 2015. The fact that such an agreement was reached shows responsibility being taken by both the City and the union. It is encouraging to see that, on this very important issue, both parties were able to find common ground. With respect to the drug plan, members of Local 79 will now pay $9.00 per prescription as a dispensing fee. Concerning the issue of leaves of absence, the City has capitulated to the union’s demand for a child and elder care leave policy.

The fact that both parties have demonstrated an ability to negotiate a potential contract during this affair demonstrates a progressive vision on the parts of both the City and the union. It is a breath of fresh air in the usually polarized hot air at council.

The tentative deal will be debated in Council today.

[Originally posted at]

No comments:

Post a Comment