Town, union reach agreement
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.
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.
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.