CUPE 104, which represents RCMP intercept monitor analysts and telecoms operators, finally has a tentative agreement following many years of waiting and negotiations. This represents a major step forward for its 1100 members.
This marks the first collective agreement for this local, which joined CUPE in 2018. Prior to 2016, these workers were prohibited from unionizing under federal law. In 2015, however, the Supreme Court struck down this legislation. Wages, retention and staff recruitment were major issues.
During their negotiations, CUPE 104 showed that, on average, their members earned close to $25,000 less than others in comparable positions in other emergency telecoms centres. The agreement calls for wage catch-up, which will significantly reduce this gap.
“This is a great first step at a time when we’ve just gotten our first collective agreement. We have finally earned some recognition for our work that is so important and so demanding. But we will not let up, as we’re well aware we must continue discussions going forward to improve working conditions and hire more staff,” said Kathleen Hippern, President of CUPE 104.
In a memo sent to members, the local’s executive states: “It’s fair to say that we did not get everything we wanted; however, we truly believe that this historic, first collective agreement provides a solid starting point to improve our overall working conditions. It gets us to a place where we can breathe again and includes commitments from us and the employer to continue working collaboratively to improve our workplaces throughout the life of this agreement and future rounds of negotiations.”
The new agreement will expire in 2025. A ratification vote will be held in June. The local executive is recommending acceptance of the agreement.