Penticton comes to terms with CUPE and IBEW

The City of Penticton has closed two deals with labour unions representing city employees.

The City of Penticton has closed two deals with labour unions representing city employees.

Members of Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 608 voted 89 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement, which has also been ratified by the city.

The new contract is a five-year, no-concessions agreement running from Jan. 1, 2014 until Dec. 31, 2018. Wage increases amount to 8.85 per cent over the term of the deal with additional market adjustments for job classifications where it has been hard to attract and retain workers. The agreement also contains contract language improvements and classification adjustments.

CUPE 608 represents approximately 200 members who work for the City of Penticton. The two sides met nine times over the past nine months to reach the new agreement.

“While there are always tough moments in any negotiations, you work through them and at the end of the day you have to come to an agreement, one that works for our members as well as for the city,” said Shelie Best, chair of the local bargaining unit committee.

Best also said the management team’s value and respect for CUPE members is evident in the agreement reached.

“It addresses our members’ priorities and concerns and we believe that the mutual respect shown during this round of talks has gone a long way towards improving the relationship and morale between our members and the employer,” said Brianne Hillson,  president of the CUPE local. “We hope that relationship continues to flourish.”

Penticton also signed a new collective agreement with the city’s electric utility employees, represented by International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 213.

“This is a fair agreement providing stability over a longer period while making the City competitive when recruiting and retaining skilled employees,” said Mayor Garry Litke.

The five-year agreement calls for two-per-cent increases each year in the term.

Penticton’s firefighters, who have been without a contract since 2009, are awaiting arbitration to settle a new contract with the city.