WOODSTOCK Contract negotiations between outside municipal workers and the City of Woodstock are at a standstill because agreement on a City initiated job evaluation study, which shows that a number of civic employees are underpaid, has yet to be completed, says the union representing outside city workers.
The collective agreement for the Citys outside employees, who are members of Local 1146 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), expired on December 31, 2002. Since then, the City began a comprehensive job evaluation study to determine and harmonize rates of pay for City employees. The job evaluation would significantly impact wage rates and, ultimately, the renewal of a collective agreement.
Having agreement on the job evaluation is key to negotiating a new contract. Essentially, whats at play here is that the City is not happy with the results of their own job evaluation study, which suggests that a good number of City employees have been underpaid for some time now.
But we arent prepared to sit idle with an expired collective agreement while the employer stews over the findings of their own study, says CUPE National Representative Linda Thurston-Neeley, who adds, the union has applied to the Ministry of Labour to appoint a Conciliation Officer to help get contract negotiations kick-started.
CUPE Local 1146 represents a number of employees within the City of Woodstock and the County of Oxford. The outside workers, who include employees in the works, recycling, parks and water departments, are a unit of the Local. Other City employee groups, who are also members of Local 1146, are waiting for the outside employees negotiations to wrap up so that they can conclude their own negotiations.
This is why concluding these talks is important. However, until we can reach an agreement on the job evaluation findings, it is not possible to conclude negotiations. City council certainly didnt seem to have a problem accepting this concept when the Mayor went to council this spring to approve his 38 per cent pay increase. Why are frontline workers being treated differently? Asks Thurston-Neeley.
For more information, please contact:
Linda Thurston-Neeley, CUPE National Representative
Stella Yeadon, CUPE Communications