Staff members at the Nelson and District Youth Centre have joined the Canadian Union of Public Employees in a Labour Board vote that was counted on July 22. Youth centre staff are City of Nelson employees.
Eleven of the 16 staff members voted 6-5 to join Local 339 of CUPE, which already represents 80 city employees.
Asked what led to the unionization move, Local 399 president Mike Stefiuk said, “They are one of the only groups of city employees not unionized. They wanted to stabilize their employment and wanted us to give them representation.”
The youth centre staff will be a sub-local of Local 339, similar to the Nelson Public Library whose employees have their own separate contract with the city.
The youth centre operates in a city-owned building. About a third of its operating costs come from a city grant and the rest is self-generated.
The next step, said Stefiuk, will be for the city and the union to agree on some dates for bargaining. They will have to start from scratch, developing job classifications and other terms of employment. That involves looking at similar jobs at similar organizations in the province and working from that, he said.
Currently the city is in negotiations with employees of the police department who have been without a contract for four years, with the fire department whose contract expired five years ago, and with CUPE whose contract with the city expired last December.
So negotiations with the youth centre will have to somehow fit into that mix.