Prince Albert City Council held an emergency meeting to approve increasing the wages for out-of-scope supervisors. CUPE 882 members and allies were on hand to witness the proceedings. The local has significant concerns with the rhetoric from councillors and city administration, as well as the misleading information they are sharing by other means.
City representatives spoke about the labour uncertainty stemming from a potential full withdrawal of services by CUPE 882. However, the report did not mention that the employer walked away from the bargaining table after just eight days over the course of a few months.
The union was hopeful that the mandatory conciliation process with the Labour Relations Board appointed conciliator would result in some discussion, but the city’s representatives refused to meet with us face to face. Conciliation broke down the same day it started.
“We want to be clear: the city is refusing to bargain. And their comments during the emergency meeting made it clear they have little interest in coming together to reach a fair deal,” said Allan McKeand, a city employee and a spokesperson for CUPE 882.
“The union was also concerned that city administration was not able to answer basic questions from councillors about the cost rationale for rejecting the union’s counteroffer.” When asked directly what the cost of a one percent increase for these workers is, the City Manager said they do not have the answer.
“This means that the employer walked away from the table, filed an impasse application with the Labour Board, walked away from conciliation, and forced a “last offer” vote without knowing what the cost they were objecting to was,” added McKeand. “It is unbelievable that the city would reject our offer without even understanding what the offer was.”
Councillors also defended their wage increase, saying they are some of the lowest paid employees at the city.
“The public needs to understand that the majority of CUPE 882 members make under $50,000 and several classifications are minimum wage jobs,” said McKeand. “To hear part-time City Councillors complain about how little money they make when proposing a 32% wage increase for themselves is galling. It sends a message to workers that they don’t care about us.”
CUPE 882 started the second phase of their work to rule at 8:00 a.m., this morning by refusing to follow all uniform/dress code policies, standards, conventions, and rules in all city facilities. In addition, members will continue to refuse to train management, contractors, co-workers, or anyone else in any aspect of their job or any other job, operation, or skill.
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