Workers with picket signs standing in front of City HallCUPE 882, the union representing striking inside workers at the City of Prince Albert, has written a letter to Saskatchewan’s Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety asking him to appoint a special mediator to resolve the labour dispute between CUPE 882 and the City of Prince Albert.

The collective agreement between the parties expired on December 31, 2021. The parties commenced bargaining in December 2022 but have only had eight face-to-face meetings. Some of these meetings lasted no more than an hour. Only two meetings involved monetary discussions and neither of them lasted for much more than an hour.

“The union is of the belief that an impartial third party experienced in labour relations, negotiations, and mediation will be able to bring the parties to a resolve,” said Mira Lewis, CUPE National Representative. “Keeping workers on the picket line and the community without the resources and programming that City of Prince Albert inside workers provide is unreasonable given that the parties to the dispute are not very far apart.”

In terms of wages, the parties are 1% apart with the union asking for 12%, and the employer refusing to budge from 11%. The costing provided by the employer shows that this amounts to under $50,000 a year.

On September 7, 2023 the employer agreed to provide costing to the union, which had not previously been done, and that they would consider a new offer from the union. While the costing provided was incomplete, the union nonetheless provided the employer a new offer to settle. However, the employer did not consider the union’s offer, instead they continue to maintain their refusal to return to the bargaining table unless the union accepts the offer which has twice been rejected.

The union commenced job action on September 11. The full withdrawal of services has impacted service levels at City Hall, EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, Frank Dunn Pool, Alfred Jenkins Field House, and the Art Hauser Centre.