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CUPE 3768 Job Action: Residents & Taxpayer Update

February 4, 2020

Update for Residents & Taxpayers

JOB ACTION   FEBRUARY – 04 -2020

Regrettably, The Town of Holyrood (Employer) find ourselves in an unfortunate circumstance of a job action involving our unionized employees. We can assure you we tried to avoid this circumstance.  We bargained in good faith and reached agreement on many items to improve the overall working environment of our employees. The Town was and is willing to sign off on these items to ensure our employees benefit from this contract process. However, there were items on which the union and the Employer were unable to find agreement and we therefore entered the conciliation phase of collective bargaining. In conciliation, we provided an additional 1% in year 3 of a 3-year agreement. Unfortunately, the employees did not accept our offer.

The Town of Holyrood provides quality working conditions to our employees, we provide competitive wages, an excellent health and benefits package, and an extremely good pension plan. We value all our employees, and we treat them with respect each day and offer them support and recognition for their efforts.

If the Town had agreed to the union’s repeated demands for more – we would have agreed to demands and conditions which are unreasonable in this economic climate. Giving more would have resulted in a wage increase that is totally “out of line” with the current economic conditions. For our residents – giving more would have resulted in a tax increase in order to accommodate the increase expenditures over the lifetime of the contract. We simply refuse to pass on unreasonable costs to our taxpayers. Within the budget passed in December for 2020 there is only so much the Town can do without increasing taxes. We have given all we can give (and more).

To be fully transparent, the employer has already conceded the following in this round of negotiations:

  • we have increased the meal allowance to employees from $14 to $16
  • increased the “on call” provision from $25 to $35 per shift
  • we agreed to provide a pair of “fire resistant” coveralls and increase the overall clothing allocation to employees (seasonal as well as permanent) from $200 annually to $250 annually
  • we have gone from paying an additional $1.00/hour for working in a live sewer to $4.00/ hour (in addition to employees’ normal wages)
  • we have also offered an overall increase of .24 in 2020 (1%); .60 in 2021 (2.5%); and .48 in 2022 (2%) – an overall increase of 5.5% over 3 years – (last contract, Holyrood employees agreed to increases of 9% over 3 years)
  • Since 2004, wages for unionized employees have increase by 58.75%

LET’S COMPARE OTHER CUPE AGREEMENTS

  • The City of St. John’s have 2 years left at 0% each year; the City of St. John’s signed a 4-year agreement of 0%, 0%, 0%, & 0% – 0% over 4 years
  • Mount Pearl’s most recent agreement was a 4-year agreement with its employees at a rate of 1%, 1%, 1%, & 1% – 4% over 4 years
  • CBS’s most recent agreement offered 0.5%.; 0.5%; 1%; 2% = 4% overall from 2019-2022
  • Placentia employees were on strike for 6 weeks in the summer of 2019 and settled a 4-year deal with wage increases of 0%, 0%, 1%, 1.5% = 2.5% over 4 years

Our wage offer of 5.5% over 3 years is reasonable and fair. The employees have rejected what we have offered. We have no more to give. Unfortunately, we find ourselves in this position.

The Town of Holyrood will do its best to provide ongoing services to residents, but there may be some disruptions and delays which will require your understanding. Your patience and continued support is appreciated. We will provide regular updates on progress – as well as updates on our municipal programs, operations, services, and facilities as we move forward.

If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to contact the Town Office at 229-7252 (after hours using the same number) or email info@holyrood.ca