Town, union reach agree­ment

The Compass - - EDITORIAL OPINION - BY MIKA REKAI

The Town of Car­bon­ear has reached a new col­lec­tive agree­ment with the union that rep­re­sents its out­side, pool and of­fice staff.

And both sides say they are pleased with how the ne­go­ti­a­tions went.

“ We al­ways try to keep a rea­son­able bal­ance,” said town ad­min­is­tra­tor Cyn­thia Davis.

“ We want to do what’s best for our town em­ploy­ees while keep­ing taxes at a rea­son­able rate ( for cit­i­zens).”

The Trans­port and Al­lied Work­ers Union (Team­sters Lo­cal 855) rep­re­sent the town’s 30 full-time and sea­sonal staff.

Three-year deal

Rip Gill, a busi­ness agent with Lo­cal 855, said the meet­ings tack­led a num­ber of is­sues, and both par­ties say they are pleased with the fi­nal agree­ment, which is ef­fec­tive un­til Jan­uary 2014.

One of the high­lights is a salary in­crease of $2.25 to be phased in over the next three years. This in­crease, which amounts to roughly 12 per cent, was passed by a large ma­jor­ity at the meet­ings, said Gill.

“ The in­creases were sat­is­fac­tory,” he stated.

Davis said there were very few ma­jor changes in the agree­ment, and the ma­jor­ity of the meet­ings were spent “clar­i­fy­ing and re­fin­ing” pre­vi­ous agree­ments.

Labour har­mony

The town has al­ways had a his­tory of peace­ful re­la­tions with labour, Davis ex­plained.

The only area of de­bate at the meet­ings was re­gard­ing overtime for sea­sonal work­ers in­volved in snow­clear­ing. For the last decade, op­er­a­tors have been work­ing on week­ends to en­sure roads are con­sis­tently cleared of snow and ice.

While overtime hours are typ­i­cally al­lo­cated based on se­nior­ity, this can be prob­lem­atic when a sea­sonal worker can­not take the time to fin­ish clear­ing a par­tic­u­lar road at the end of their shift, Davis said.

Gill said it was im­por­tant for the town to pri­or­i­tize full-time work­ers, in­stead of us­ing sea­sonal staff in an ef­fort to cut down on overtime costs.

The two sides agreed in the meet­ings that sea­sonal work­ers could work for an hour be­yond their shifts — enough time to fin­ish the job at hand — be­fore be­ing re­placed by se­nior full-time work­ers.

A new col­lec­tive agreeent be­tween the Town of Car­bon­ear and its union­ized em­ploy­ees will re­strict the amount of overtime for sea­sonal work­ers who per­form snow­clear­ing du­ties.

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