Friday, September 14, 2007

City Backgrounder - Bargaining with CUPE 15

CUPE 15 served the City with a notice to commence bargaining on September 1, 2006. City and CUPE 15 negotiators first exchanged proposals on September 22 and met to discuss these proposals in a series of meetings on October 19, 31 and November 1.

The City presented its first offer for settlement on November 17, and after two subsequent meetings of the Benefits Sub Committee, the union put forward its first offer for settlement on November 22. The city responded to this offer on November 30.

After three additional meetings of the Benefits Sub Committee, the City presented a second offer on December 15, 2006, in response to Union concerns. CUPE 15 negotiators presented the union’s second settlement offer on January 15, 2007.

Three meetings took place on January 22, 25 and February 7 to discuss the parties’ positions, prompting the Union to present a third offer for settlement on February 16. The City again responded the union with a third offer for settlement on
February 22. Two additional meetings took place, and subsequently CUPE 15 called a strike vote, resulting in the return of a 93.5% strike mandate on April 26.

In an ongoing effort to avert job action, City negotiators came forward with a fourth offer for settlement and offered to engage a private mediator, to facilitate ongoing negotiations. On May 22, the Union declined to enter into privately
mediated discussions, and the City requested mediation through the Labour Relations Board (LRB), in order to prevent potential job action. The LRB agreed to facilitate mediated talks, and appointed Debbie Cameron as mediator on May 30, 2007.

After four mediated sessions – bringing the total number of meetings between the City and Union to twenty-two - the City tabled its fifth and last offer for settlement on July 9. CUPE 15 leadership rejected the City’s last offer and refused to allow its
members to vote on its content. The City applied to the LRB to conduct a last offer vote, in order to allow employees the opportunity to consider and vote on the offer.

The Labour Relations Board approved the city’s application for a last offer vote, which was conducted through the day on July 19. The City’s last offer for settlement was rejected by CUPE 15 employees by 89%. Of the total employees eligible to vote, 52% did so.

Following the vote, CUPE 15 booked out of mediation (discontinuing facilitated meetings), and served the City with 72 hour strike notice. CUPE 15 members began job action early on Monday, July 23.

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