The City of Moose Jaw has walked away from the conciliation process and said it is finished bargaining with the union. In response, the provincially appointed conciliator has written to the Minister concluding that he was unable to reach a deal.

“If the employer would be prepared to return to conciliation and bargain in good faith, the union would be prepared to do so as well,” said Stacey Landin, president of CUPE Local 9.  “However, our recent rounds of conciliation have made it clear the employer is not prepared to make any significant moves on its proposals.”

The employer’s hired consultant, Bill Humeny, has repeatedly said at the bargaining table that he will not move off the employer’s proposal for standby or its proposal to remove sufficient ability from the posting language.

“The employer is still looking to make changes to standby and refuses to acknowledge that our members already go above and beyond to respond to emergencies. The city has provided no proof that the current provisions of the collective agreement on these issues are causing any problems in the city’s ability to serve the citizens of Moose Jaw,” said Landin. “The only options the city is putting forward are mandatory standby or contracting out the work of the bargaining unit. Neither of these are acceptable options.”

The other major concession the city is seeking is on sufficient ability language. Sufficient ability is important as many members have been provided the opportunity to advance within the city due to the ability to be promoted when they can sufficiently perform the duties of the position, even if they do not have the “formal” qualifications for the position.

In terms of next steps, the employer’s application to amend the certification order to remove supervisory members from the bargaining unit is in the hands of the Labour Relations Board. While this matter is before the Labour Relations Board, neither the union nor the city are in a legal position to take job action or lock out workers.

“We do not expect the issue of our supervisory members to be resolved before the spring,” said Landin. “The City of Moose Jaw must take steps now to ensure we can come to an agreement in a timely manner.

“It is time for the city council to move away from this regressive proposal package and to clearly inform Mr. Humeny that the lack of progress at the table is unacceptable.”