Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A summer of Civic Labour settlements across British Columbia

One day past the Labour Day weekend makes for a timely opportunity to review some of the developments on the British Columbia Labour front, particularly when it comes to recent contract settlements reached in many communities across the province.

So far 2015 has provided for a number of wage agreements between municipal governments and their civic workers, the range of those final numbers somewhere at the two to two and a half percent range if the media releases from across the province are an indication.

And while there have been some nasty disputes in a few locations, with differences of opinion in Kitimat, Campbell River and Castelgar providing for some of the more heated labour negotiations for the last year.

However, for the most part, community after community has sat down and hammered out an agreement with their local workforce,  taking little time in announcing a deal, with most of those labour arrangements crafted without any disruption to civic operations.

A look at some of the recent agreements can be found below.

Fort St. John
Qualicum Beach

And while City Council's across the province have been quick to deliver word on the state of their negotiations, in Prince Rupert, matters related to labour issues don't seem to get the same amount of transparency, or delivery of information as elsewhere.

So far, heading into the final quarter of this new council's first year, while City Council has been pretty active in adding on to the numbers of new employees with the City,

However, through the first eight months of this year, there have been few, if any discussions in public meetings about labour issues, or contract negotiations with the current compliment of civic workers.

According to the City's Annual Report of 2013, the most recent contract with CUPE Local 105 was set to expire on December 31,  2014.

A process which would have made 2015 the contract renegotiation year.

The City of Prince Rupert's Strategic Plan Objectives page
from the 2013 Annual Report

Unlike those communities noted above, to this point the City of Prince Rupert has not provided any update, or announcement as to the status of any City negotiations, whether ongoing or complete, on the local front.

For the most part, when the topic of labour comes up, Council tacks a notice onto the advisory of a Closed session, noting as they did a number of times this year that Council would be meeting to discuss:

"negotiations and related discussions respecting the proposed provision of a municipal service that are at their preliminary stages and that, in the view of the council, could reasonably be expected to harm the interests of the municipality if they were held in public.  "

Those Special Closed sessions behind the closed doors, while not always involving matters of labour, have taken place some fourteen times since the start of the year.

Council might want to share some of the background on those sessions from time to time, updating us all on what it is that gets discussed away from the regular camera feed.

For more items related to City Council Discussions, see our archive page here.

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