Calgary ratifies inside, outside agreements

Membership not showing strong support for austerity contracts
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/04/2011

On June 28, the 3,000 outside workers of the City of Calgary voted in favour of a new collective agreement. The members of Local 37 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) will receive 2.5 per cent in the first year and three per cent in each of the second and third years. In announcing the results, local president Kevin Galley did not say how many votes were in support, but did mention that “This agreement does not please all of our members …”

The previous week, on June 23, Local 38 of CUPE, which represents 4,000 inside workers, voted roughly 66 per cent in favour of an agreement that provided the same wage increases as did the outside deal.

In addition, members of Local 583 of the Amalgamated Transit Union employed by the city’s Handi-Bus service recently voted for a new agreement.

The dissatisfaction with the two agreements may spring from the much lower wage increases this time around. The previous agreements for these two bargaining units were for nine per cent over two years, as opposed to 8.5 per cent over three now. In defending the agreement he had come to, inside local president Peter Marsden pointed to the city’s fiscal position and the current low inflation rate in Alberta. He also claimed that maintaining employment was a reasonable trade-off against the lower wage increases.

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