Members of Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 227 and 1431 ratified a new collective agreement with Halifax Water at a meeting this Wednesday.
“This is a tremendous accomplishment,” CUPE 1431 President Heather Corkum said. “Our members took to the streets to fight for our pension plan, and the result is that we have protected our pension plan and an improved collective agreement.”
The 335 inside and outside workers, who are responsible for tasks such as drinking water safety, sewage treatment, and facility maintenance, were locked out May 19 following a dispute with Halifax Water over the costs and benefits of the pension plan. The plan serves both union and non-union employees at Halifax Water.
“Under this agreement, we have succeeded in preserving the plan’s benefit framework,” CUPE 227 President Dave Dort said. “We are sharing the ongoing costs equally, and in doing so we are ensuring that we have a sustainable plan for the future.”
Dort said that the union will work with the employer to transition workers back to their jobs.
“We expect that some workers will return on Friday, and the rest by Monday,” he said.
“Being locked out for eight weeks has been very hard on our members,” Corkum said. “They have gone without pay, missed their summer holidays, stood out under hot sun and heavy rain.”
“This is a win,” she said. “It was worth the struggle to defend our pension plan.”