City staffers reach deal after month-long strike
A month after it began, the very first civic strike in White Rock, B.C. has ended.
About 100 government employees in the city — nestled in the Metro Vancouver area — will return to work after the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) ratified a new collective agreement with the city on June 2.
As part of the new deal, city staff wages will be upped 6.75 per cent over the course of the four-year agreement. As well, part-time and casual employees will receive an 11 per cent increase (up from eight per cent) for pay in lieu of health benefits. Further, the city will allow a union-administered and employee-paid long-term disability plan to be established, as well as increases to certain shift premiums such as pay for dirty work.
“We made some important gains but CUPE also moved significantly and we were very flexible on finding common ground,” said Mike Guraliuk, president of the local CUPE 402-01 chapter.
But the union did not get everything it wanted, he said, adding that they were not able to address the need for clear hours of work for all employees — a provision that will be first on the docket in the next round of bargaining.
Mayor Wayne Baldwin called the agreement fair and affordable.
“As we have said from the start, we wanted an agreement that is fair, affordable and allows the city to continue to provide the cost effective and efficient service our residents depend on all day, every day,” he said, adding that regular services will resume as employees return to work in the coming days and weeks.