The City of Prince Albert has refused requests to return to the bargaining table since the end of July. As a result, CUPE 882 members will be exercising their rights for a full withdrawal of services.
“This is the first CUPE job action in over 12 years in Saskatchewan, and the first strike in CUPE 882’s 70-year history,” said Cara Stelmaschuk, Vice President of CUPE 882. “It is unbelievable that the city has refused to meet with us to negotiate a fair deal.”
In an attempt to reach a deal before a full withdrawal of services, CUPE 882 submitted a new offer of settlement on Friday.
“Based on the limited costing information provided by the City on Friday, the union reduced the monetary costs of our proposal by reducing additional duty pay and vacation entitlements, and re-directing our wage improvement proposal,” said Mira Lewis, CUPE National Representative. “We put forward a reasonable offer which we believed would be a good starting point for re-opening discussions. However, on Sunday afternoon, the employer rejected the union’s latest offer and continues to refuse to negotiate with us.”
“CUPE 882’s bargaining committee is ready and willing to sit down at the table and do the work needed to reach a deal before the strike deadline,” added Lewis. “A deal cannot be reached without both sides talking to each other.”
Workers at the City of Prince Albert have been working to rule since August 10 by refusing to train management, co-workers, and contractors and ignoring dress codes. The union gave notice that it plans to move forward with a full withdrawal of services on September 11, 2023.
Sixty-seven workers at Phoenix Residential Society in Regina are the latest members to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
Phoenix Residential Society staff work at providing psychosocial (psychiatric) rehabilitation services to persons in Regina with psychiatric disorders, concurrent disorders (psychiatric & substance abuse) and persons who are chronically homeless, persons with acquired brain injury (ABI) and other cognitive disabilities. The staff who work at Phoenix HOMES program provide immediate access to housing for individuals who are chronically homeless along with intensive support services once in housing.
On Labour Day, we are reminded of what workers’ unions can achieve when we mobilize and take action. Labour day began and continues as a demonstration of workers’ power joining together to secure a better, fairer future. From the right to join a union and workers’ movement to demand a shorter work day and week in the very beginnings, to health and safety standards and many more rights often taken for granted, to the many challenges we face today, workers united in solidarity will always be the driving force for justice and improving the lives of workers.
This Labour Day arrives at a time of many more recent and current strikes as workers around Canada and the world say enough is enough to massive wealth inequality, corporate greed, and government underfunding and privatizing. We must all show our solidarity with courageous workers taking action through strikes to raise the bar for everyone!
Join Saskatchewan’s unions to celebrate Labour Day with community BBQs on Monday, September 4, 2023!
Click to read more about Labour Day events near you.
CUPE 882 members representing the inside workers at the City of Prince Albert have voted to reject the employer’s last offer vote.
The city asked the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board to conduct a vote on their last offer to the union. Ballots had to be received by August 24 and were counted on August 29.
“The results are clear: our members will not settle for the city’s lowball offer. We demand that the city come back to the table prepared to negotiate a fair deal,” said Cara Stelmaschuk, Vice President of CUPE 882.
CUPE 882 has been in a legal strike position since August 10, 2023 and has been working to rule including refusing to train managers, co-workers, and contractors and dressing down by foregoing dress code policies, conventions, and standards.
“The union will be meeting to discuss next steps, but a full withdrawal of services will be in the cards if the city does not provide bargaining dates immediately,” concluded Stelmaschuk.
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!