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HAMILTON City of Hamilton workers, members of Local 5167 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), voted last night to accept a tentative agreement reached between union negotiators and the City.

Despite a long and difficult negotiations process, we were able to achieve a deal with no concessions and a modest wage increase, says Gus Oliveira, president of Local 5167. The three-year deal, which includes wage increases of 2%, 2 % and 2 % for each of the next three years, will cover the workers until December 31, 2006. The deal was approved by over 75% of members in yesterdays vote.

This round of negotiations was about protecting the rights of workers and the benefits we have negotiated over the years, faced with an employer who was determined to roll back our benefits and take away job security, says Oliveira. We were able to protect our members, in spite of the citys financial woes and attempts by management to weaken our collective agreement. The union was also able to negotiate language that says when the City is looking for cost savings in certain areas, they have to sit down with the union to find savings without cutting jobs, benefits or public services.

While the deal was passed, a significant portion of our members did vote against it, Oliveira pointed out. This reflects ongoing problems of low morale among City of Hamilton workers, and a feeling of being treated as second-class citizens compared to police and firefighters, says Oliveira. This issue is compounded by the feeling that some senior city managers and some politicians undervalue public services and public workers.

Our members are a vital part of this community and we will continue to provide efficient public services that Hamiltonians have come to rely on, says Oliveira. We will be making sure city managers and local politicians address problems of morale and treat our members with the respect they deserve.

CUPE Local 5167 represents over 2,200 inside and outside workers at the City of Hamilton, including social service workers, public health, parks, roads, culture and recreation, economic development, finance and administrative workers.


For further information, please contact:
Gus Oliveira
President, CUPE Local 5167
905-522-0917 (office)
905-517-4105 (cell)

James Chai
CUPE Communications

OPEIU 491/gpb