Bargaining Update #5

We bargained on Tuesday the 23rd of May (we had originally had bargaining scheduled for May 19, but that day was canceled). It was a day that started at 8 and ended around 6. While we seem to be getting closer to an agreement, there are, as always, a couple major issues that separate us from reaching a complete 3-year agreement.  The Team has recommended that we put out the City’s and Union’s last proposals at our May 23rd session.

Click here to read the Union’s last proposals from our May 23rd session.

Click here to read the City's last proposals from our May 23rd session.

Here are the issues that are keeping us from reaching an agreement: 

Wages: Both the City and the Union have proposed the same COLA adjustments but the Union is still pushing for the extra steps 7,8 that non-represented gave themselves last year. These steps are 3% apart and the Union has proposed either longevity or getting the same extra steps 7,8 as non-represented gave themselves. It’s an equity issue the team continues to address. The City’s response at the table has been “If people want those steps they can apply for non-represented positions.”

Standby: The contract has always had “standby” but it is voluntary. The City has proposed and insists it must have mandatory 7 days a week standby for several public works, work groups.  The Union has resisted this primarily because of work-life balance but also the City’s reluctance to pay adequately. The Union did propose a standby that would just comprise of weekends with compensation equal to 2 hours of pay for every 8 hours on standby duty. The City rejected that proposal. We are considering several options on this issue and workers in Public Works can expect to hear from your union soon.

If this affects you click here to look at the proposals for standby, including the “Standby approach” that management says they are using as a guide for standby.

Bumping/Recall: Currently in your contract if there is a reduction in force employees can bump into a position they are qualified for, that’s any position within our agreement. The City has proposed that should there be a layoff so that an employee can only bump into a position within that department. The City has offered up to 12 extra hours of floating holiday for this change and can’t understand why the Union wouldn’t agree. Could it be that they aren’t the ones who will be getting “laid off?" We have tried to explain to them that bumping is a cornerstone of every union and that we do not intend to weaken seniority language in our contract. Further, the language was upheld in an arbitration some 15 + years ago. We heard that there are no layoffs looming on the horizon, so our question is: Then why change the language???

If you’re in Public Works, the City’s standby proposal will most likely impact you. We’ll be hosting a meeting on this issue the evening of May 31. We will update this page, and send out email notices once we have the time and location set.

Please be on the lookout for more information about surveys and other actions. These are important and a means by which your Union team will make decisions moving forward.

To look at all Tentative Agreements as of 5-23-23, click here.

You will also be able to get direct information from anyone on your bargaining team, listed below.

In Solidarity,

Jim Steiner

Jennifer Jess, Vince Jones, Kristina Hauge, Stephen Whitener, Matt Rouleau