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PORT MOODY Port Moody city workers are pleased with city councils decision last week to serve the required two years notice to withdraw from the Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) Labour Relations function. The local, CUPE 825, has long been arguing for the withdrawal as a way to better enable local solutions to local labour relations issues job evaluation being a prime example.

In April 2004, CUPE 825 President Maria Wahl made a presentation to city council and submitted a brief asking council to consider the possibility of discontinuing its membership in the Greater Vancouver Regional District Labour Relations Bureau.

The submission not only outlined the cost-effectiveness of this move, but recommended it as a way to increase accountability by resting it in city council, as opposed to GVRD bureaucrats, and enable made in Port Moody solutions to critical processes like job evaluation.

We need job specifications that reflect the size and culture of our work force, wrote Wahl in her submission. The GVRD job evaluation plan hamstrings employers with a clumsy, standardized plan that is inflexible and not suited to our unique needs. We are unable to deal with situations as they arise. This has created shared frustrations for everyone at the City.

City council voted 4-3 in favour of the resolution to withdraw from the GVRD LRB.

We are proud of the leadership [Port Moody] city council has shown in making this decision, says Wahl. We are looking forward to an end to our frustrations with job evaluation dictated by GVRD bureaucrats who do not understand our unique realities. This is a huge victory for fairness.

Port Moody city manager Gaetan Royer agrees. “Fixing the system is not about money, it’s about responding to today’s workplace realities and to Port Moody’s needs. Remaining an employer of choice is a challenge under the current system.

GVRD LRB has a $2.6 million annual budget that covers 67 collective agreements for GVRD member municipalities not including Port Coquitlam and Richmond, who have both rescinded membership, and Surrey who has never been a member.

CUPE 825 represents approximately 150 city workers who provide services to city hall, parks and recreation centres, ensure roads and infrastructure are well-maintained and provide library services.