Workers at the Wastewater Treatment Plant and the Compost Plant in Moncton didn’t see the need to belong to a union to protect their rights. For years, they were paid and treated fairly by their employer and had benefits similar to unionized municipal workers in the area.
All that changed with the arrival of a new manager in 2013 who began stripping away their benefits. He was also the driving force behind the decision of the Greater Moncton Wastewater Commission to apply for P3 funding for the construction of a new $80 million plant needed to comply with the federal Wastewater System Effluent Regulations by 2020.
That’s when the 10 workers decided to join CUPE to protect their jobs and the public service they provide. They were certified as CUPE 5217 in November 2014 and want protective language against P3s in their collective agreement.
“It’s not easy to negotiate a first collective agreement and at the same time fight to keep the wastewater plant a public entity, but we are determined to do both”, said Ralph Green, president of CUPE 5217.