Staff who carry out much of the City of Nelson’s day-to-day operations will receive a raise of two per cent annually for four years from July 2020.
Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 339 and the city reached a new contract agreement, according to a Thursday press release.
The city’s 70 CUPE members operate and maintain the city’s water and sewer systems, take care of parks and the cemetery, collect garbage, remove snow, run the Nelson and District Youth Centre and work at various administrative positions in city hall.
Although the employees of the Nelson Public Library are CUPE members, they negotiate separately and have not yet reached a contract.
“We are pleased to complete a four-year deal, taking into consideration budget constraints, the effects of the pandemic on our community and ensuring we maintain the service levels we need to keep Nelson safe and welcoming. This agreement is in line with recent union settlements across the Province of B.C.,” said the city’s human resources director Joanna Markin in a news release.
According to city manager Kevin Cormack, the CUPE payroll in 2020 was $6,050,000. The total payroll for the city was $18 million or 42 per cent of city expenditures.
Cormack said that in addition to wage issues, the new agreement contains provisions related to a number of operational matters such as training and shift schedules, as well as changes to benefits for some of the employees of the youth centre.
“Our members work hard for the community of Nelson and are committed to serving its citizens,” said local CUPE president Mike Stefiuk in a news release. “We believe this is a fair deal that in part recognizes that commitment.”
Other collective agreements
The city’s police, fire and electrical workers are also unionized.
Contracts with the Nelson Police Association and with the International Association of Fire Fighters expired in 2019 and negotiations for new contracts have not started.
The previous contract with the police union gave them a 2.4 per cent annual increase retroactive to 2013.
The terms of the expired agreement with the firefighters were decided in 2018 by an arbitrator after the two sides were unable to reach an agreement. It gave firefighters an annual 2.4 per cent increase retroactive to 2012.
The fire and police unions tend to wait until they have reached agreements in large Lower Mainland communities before they negotiate with smaller rural communities, so late starts in Nelson are normal, Cormack said.
The city’s contract with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers expires next year.