CUPE’s National President Mark Hancock attended a rally at Prince Albert City Hall to show support for CUPE 882 members. Over 70 members and allies were in attendance to call for the city to get back to the bargaining table.
“CUPE 882 members work hard to provide the residents of Prince Albert quality public services. We keep the City of Prince Albert running. We help you pay your bills, keep your kids safe at pools and playgrounds, and support crucial city operations. And we deserve wages that keep up with inflation,” said Cara Stelmaschuk, Vice President of CUPE 882. “Enough is enough. If the Mayor and City Council can give themselves wage increases that account for inflationary pressures, they should be willing to offer the same for their workers.”
The City of Prince Albert is asking their inside municipal workers to accept offers that are well below the rate of inflation and amount to a wage cut. Meanwhile, between 2017 and 2021, compensation for the Mayor and City Council has increased by 20%, more than double what CUPE 882 members received during the same period.
“We want to make sure that this mayor, council and management know that it is our members who make this city run,” said Mark Hancock, National President of CUPE. “To this mayor and council – it isn’t just the members of CUPE 882 you are taking on – you are taking on all of the CUPE members in Saskatchewan and you are taking on all 715,000 CUPE members from coast to coast.”
CUPE Saskatchewan calls on the Sask Party government and Minister of Education to rescind its policy announcement of August 22, 2023, and engage in meaningful consultation.
The following statement by Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, was released in response to the announcement by the Minister of Education Dustin Duncan.
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.
CUPE Saskatchewan’s Indigenous Council was proud to join the 2023 Back to Batoche Days, which drew a record crowd of over 40,000 people for the annual celebrations of the Métis Nation in Saskatchewan on July 20 – 23, 2023.
This year’s festival theme was Year of the Youth at Batoche – celebrating the future generations of the Métis Nation. The festival features the Métis fiddle and the Red River Jig, voyageur games, chuck wagon racing, sports and contemporary games, rodeo, Métis traditional food and artisans, storytelling and traditional teachings, the Michif language, and much more!
Registration is now open for the annual CUPE Saskatchewan Indigenous Peoples’ Conference to be held on November 16 – 17, 2023, at Wanuskewin Heritage Park.
Early registration deadline is October 16, 2023.
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After weeks of the employer refusing to get back to bargaining, CUPE 882 workers have reached an impasse with the City of Prince Albert and are set to strike. Prince Albert’s municipal workers are preparing for job action, up to and including a full withdrawal of services as early as August 10, 2023.
The city’s offer would leave city workers with less purchasing power at a time when everything is getting more expensive,” said Tammy Vermette, president of CUPE 882. “Despite the rhetoric from the City of Prince Albert, this offer does not address the crushing cost-of-living and instead asks their workers to do more with less.”
After employees rejected the city’s final offer, the city has refused to meet with the union. The mandatory conciliation process was not successful and ended in half a day.
While city workers have accepted offers that do not keep pace with the rate of inflation, the Mayor of Prince Albert and City Council have seen their compensation increase by 20% from 2016 to 2021, double the increases received by city inside workers during this period.
At a meeting held on June 26, CUPE 882 members representing City of Prince Albert inside workers voted 79% in favour of job action, up to and including a full withdrawal of services.
CUPE 882 members have been without a contract since December 2021.
“Our members are being ignored,” said Tammy Vermette, president of CUPE 882. “Municipalities across the province have been able to reach fair agreements that recognize the crushing cost-of-living, and still, the City of Prince Albert refuses to keep our pay on pace with inflation.”
The most recent offer from the city would result in a significant reduction of purchasing power for city employees in the first two years of the agreement. The previous two rounds of bargaining resulted in employees losing 2.65% of their purchasing power. After employees rejected the city’s final offer, the city has refused to meet with the union and continue bargaining.
Volunteers from CUPE Saskatchewan delivered pizza lunches today to children and people of all ages at eight parks in Saskatoon’s core neighbourhoods.
The pizza lunch day, sponsored by CUPE Saskatchewan, is part of the Saskatoon and District Labour Council’s Summer Snack Program dedicated to relieving hunger and providing support to those in our community who might otherwise go hungry with a free healthy lunch, seven days a week, during July and August. The long-running program is funded in large part by donations made by unions, as well contributions from local businesses, community-minded organizations such as the United Way, and the City of Saskatoon.
Thank you to all those CUPE members who delivered smiles and joy to many in our community today!
National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21 is an annual opportunity to honour and celebrate the diverse cultures, linguistic diversity, history and contributions of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. It is also a time to reflect on the ongoing harms of colonialism and the need for greater action for truth, reconciliation and justice. As Saskatchewan’s largest union and Canada’s largest union, CUPE stands in solidarity with Indigenous nations, communities and organizations and is committed to continuing to work towards reconciliation, justice and to respect our ongoing treaty relationships.
Members of CUPE 1904 representing Yorkton library workers, are deeply dismayed about Mayor Hippsley’s recent comments about the rationale for the sale of the library, and the startling news that the library may face closures during the transition period.
“City Council is making decisions without considering the valuable insights and expertise of the library. We have serious concerns about the impact on community access to essential library services,” said Savannah Komaike-Petkau, A/president of CUPE 1904. “It is clear that city council has very limited knowledge of the vital role our library plays in the community, and instead of working directly with library professionals they are leaving us in the dark and fumbling through the entire process as a result.”
The Yorkton branch of the Parkland Regional Library is responsible for 30 percent of circulation for the whole region. Library programming includes space for counselling, legal clinics, children’s activities, assistance for seniors and newcomers, and so much more.