City, union see new deal in sight for Kamloops municipal workers

CUPE contract on horizon

City of Kamloops workers who have been without a contract since the end of last year should soon have a new deal in place, according to the head of the union and the top official at city hall.

“We've been very actively negotiating, we've met many, many times and I hope we're getting close to a deal,” Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 900 president Ken Davis told Castanet Kamloops.

“It's just hammering out the last standing issues.”

He said the talks have been making good progress.

Byron McCorkell, acting CAO for the City of Kamloops, said the city and union have been in negotiations since the second week of January.

“Things are going very well. We're quite pleased with conversations,” McCorkell said.

“We’re hopeful to be able to make an announcement in short order, just a couple of things to work through yet, but it's been a good process, once again.”

At the core of contract talks is wages, but Davis said he feels a deal is close.

“Inflation being what it is, and coming off of a five year contract before that, wages and just overall quality of life, recruitment language, that type of thing,” Davis said of the main issues in negotiations.

When asked how much of a raise CUPE 900 is looking at, Davis said they want wages that are fair and catch up to market value, noting a comparable usually includes the cities of Kelowna and Vernon.

City workers are coming off a 10.75 per cent raise over their previous five year contract — worth about a two per cent per year raise.

“Which, at the time that we signed, it was pretty good,“ Davis said, adding that two per cent annually was about average for the time and anything above was considered a strong contract.

He said this time around the union is looking for more than two per cent a year, adding that a short-term deal is generally the preference of members.

McCorkell said it was “a little premature” to discuss where the city is hoping to end up on wages, noting that information will be released once a contract is signed.

The city this past week also just started meetings with the IAFF Local 913, which represents firefighters, on a new contract for Kamloops Fire Rescue members, McCorkell told Castanet.

CUPE 900 represents some 645 members working for the City of Kamloops, including workers in all departments of the municipality, from civic operations to all parks, arenas and pools, development engineering services and municipal services at the RCMP detachment.

Davis said once the City of Kamloops contract is in place, the union will head into contract talks for workers at the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and the Village of Chase.

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