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HomeBusinessVancouver inside workers union closer to approving new deal

Vancouver inside workers union closer to approving new deal

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Bob Mackin

City of Vancouver’s inside workers are meeting Nov. 17 to ratify a new two-year agreement. 

Negotiators for the 3,500 CUPE Local 15 members at city hall, parks board, Britannia Community Services Centre and Ray-Cam Co-operative Centre reached a tentative new contract on Oct. 16.

Vancouver city hall (Mackin)

A leaked copy of the memorandum of settlement shows that they are scheduled to receive a 4.5 per cent pay raise retroactive to last Jan. 1 and get another 4 per cent on the first day of 2024.

The members of the Vancouver Municipal, Education and Community Workers union will also get a one-time lump sum retention payment of 3.5 per cent after Jan. 11 on all regular, non-overtime wages earned in 2022. 

It doesn’t stop there. 

“One-time lump sum recognition payment of 1 percent to all active employees payable after Nov. 16, 2023 on all straight time wages earned in 2023 up to and including Nov. 16, 2023 (at the updated 2023 wage rate).”

Under the expired contract, hourly wages ranged from $21.27 to $69.48. 

Vacant positions will now be posted for seven days on the employer’s website. “Where a position is posted and there are subsequent positions in the same class, within 90 days the employer may offer the position to the highest ranked qualified applicant without posting͘.”

The deal also includes a change to language allowing the city to offer more vacation to new employees upon hire and increases limits to the extended health plan. For instance, the limit for clinical psychology is more than doubled from $600 to $1,350 and there is a new $3,000 coverage for in vitro fertilization. A letter of understanding commits to exploring an affordable long term disability plan. 

National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is added to the statutory holidays list and the parties agreed to “canvass options for cost neutral approach to reflect different cultural and/or religious beliefs in relation to public holidays.”

Indigenous workers will be allowed three separate leaves per year to attend spiritual or ceremonial events. The first day of each of the three leaves will be paid leave. 

The city has committed to creating an Indigenous hiring process to prioritize First Nations, Inuit and Metis people for certain jobs. Criteria for determining if a job is suitable for the new Indigenous hiring process includes whether traditional knowledge is beneficial or job duties relate to Indigenous identity; whether Indigenous peoples have been underrepresented in a certain area or business unit; and if the conditions of a grant or subsidy include creating a position for an Indigenous person. 

“The postings under the Indigenous hiring (IH) process will indicate that applicants must self-identify as an Indigenous people to be eligible to qualify for the position,” the memorandum of settlement said. “Applicants under the IH process may be required to verify that they are Indigenous people.”

Employees running for public office at any level will still be granted leave of absence, without pay, so that they can campaign. But a new clause governs what happens should they win.

“When an employee is elected to a government public office outside the City of Vancouver or Vancouver Park Board, the employee may be granted leave of absence without pay for a period of up to one year, and such leave may be extended each year on request during the employee’s first term of office,” the clause said. “If the employee is elected to office with the City of Vancouver or Vancouver Park Board, the employee will resign.”

At least three city hall workers on leave of absence unsuccessfully ran in the 2022 city council election: Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s press secretary Alvin Singh for Forward Together and, for the OneCity party, Coun. Christine Boyle’s assistant Matthew Norris and transportation planner Iona Bonamis.  

The notice for the Nov. 17 ratification meeting includes four information sessions at the Maritime Labour Centre Auditorium.

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