Letters: CUPE comments

Union responds to lack of mediator during bargaining

Sooke bargains directly with the union unlike many (most) other municipalities who belong to the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association (GVLRA).

The Collective Agreement (CA) between the district and union expires one year following the GVLRA tables. This was arranged by both parties during the last negotiations to ensure Sooke and the union would know what the regional norm was.

Having 13 municipalities in the region creates competition for skilled workers and to avoid mass changeover in staff most municipalities pay comparative wages and benefits.

By having Sooke CA follow we can always ensure Sooke stays competitive and in line with other municipalities and Sooke can save association fees by remaining independent. This also makes it easy for the union who can practically propose a “me to” agreement to keep up with region.

The union requested the assistance of a mediator from the Labour Relations Board. This was requested after the breakdown of bargaining – resulting primarily from the fact the employer never put a bargaining proposal in writing to the union. Mediators can think outside the box and come up with creative ideas, which can be very helpful when parties  become entrenched in their positions.

Mediation was used during the last round of bargaining to conclude the collective agreement. The union has hope the same can occur this round.

Trevor Davies

President, CUPE 374