Twelve employees of a private company hired to run Red Deer’s public landfill have voted to join the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
The employees, who work for MCL Waste Systems and Environmental Inc., approached CUPE with concerns about wages, fair treatment and working conditions.
CUPE Alberta President Marle Roberts says as part of Canada’s biggest union, the employees will be well protected. “These workers join a network of municipal and waste workers from across the country,” said Roberts. “They will have access to research, bargaining expertise, public relations and any other resources they need to get a fair deal from their employer.”
Roberts said the employer tried to block the unionization attempt at the Alberta Labour Relations Board by arguing that the workers be lumped in with other company employees in other cities. “Fortunately, the board found that a site specific unit was appropriate. A vote was taken and the wishes of these employees to belong to CUPE will be respected.”
CUPE represents 620,000 members across Canada, with 32,000 in Alberta. Over 12,000 municipal workers in the province are CUPE members, making it the largest union in that sector of the economy.