While City Council started budget deliberations by giving themselves a compensation increase, the unions representing inside and outside workers at the City of Prince Albert stand united to demand fair wages that reflect their dedication to the well-being and prosperity of our community.

“Budgets are about choices. This council is choosing to give themselves wage increases because of “increased workload” but are refusing to negotiate in good faith with their own employees,” said Cara Stelmaschuk, Vice-President of CUPE 882, the union representing inside workers at the city. “City workers are the heartbeat of Prince Albert, diligently providing vital services that ensure the smooth functioning of our city. From maintaining public spaces to ensuring public safety, these workers are the true pillars upon which our community stands.”

According to media reports, the city is projected to bring in over $82 million in revenue for 2024 and is looking to spend over $77 million. PA Now reports that the difference between the projected revenue and projected expenditures is about $5.1 million – which “means the city could add to the budget without the risk of dealing with a deficit.”

“The cost of living continues to rise, and our members, who give their all to keep Prince Albert thriving deserve compensation that aligns with their tireless efforts,” said Leslie Mourot Bartley, President of CUPE 160, the union representing outside workers. “Our demand for a fair wage increase is not just about numbers on a paycheque. It’s about recognition of our tireless efforts, commitment, and the indispensable services we provide. We are not asking for the moon; we are asking for a modest increase that reflects the value we bring to the City of Prince Albert.”

In the past months, Council has approved additional funding to many pet projects, including an extra $700,000 for the design of a new Events Centre, an increase of nearly $453,000 for the design process of the proposed airport terminal, $40,000 more than budgeted for a new pumper fire truck, and over $50,000 on legal fees for the golf and curling club. The city has also stated publicly that they are saving money because of the CUPE 882 strike, though they are yet to provide a detailed costing.

“We urge the residents of Prince Albert to stand in solidarity with the workers during this crucial time. Our fight for fair wages is not just for us; it’s for the well-being of the entire community. Your support sends a powerful message that the people who keep this city running deserve respect and fairness,” added Stelmaschuk.

CUPE represents over 5,000 municipal workers in Saskatchewan. CUPE 882 represents workers at City Hall, EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, Frank Dunn Pool, Alfred Jenkins Field House, and the Art Hauser Centre.

Some of the areas CUPE 160 represents workers at includes the water treatment plant, waste water treatment plant, sanitation department, parks and recreation, roadways, rink operation staff, janitors at all city facilities, fleet mechanics, airport maintenance workers, and cemetery staff.