Town informs residents of potential labour disruption

News Release For Immediate Release July 12, 2016 Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL – Labour negotiations between the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and

News Release
For Immediate Release
July 12, 2016

Happy Valley – Goose Bay, NL – Labour negotiations between the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and CUPE Local 2019 have been ongoing since the fall of 2015.

Negotiations through conciliation began in March 2016 and have not resulted in a new agreement to date. While there is still time to reach an agreement, a legal work disruption (strike or lockout) could occur as early as July 16, 2016.

While significant progress has been made, the outstanding issue on the table is wages. Details are provided in the background and timeline sections below.

We understand the impact a labour disruption would have the community and are therefore focused on negotiating a settlement quickly. The Town is committed to achieving a fair and reasonable collective agreement for its employees that also enables us to provide quality services to the community.

In the event of a labour disruption, all Town events will be cancelled and the following recreation facilities will be closed:

o Arena
o MMC Sports Complex
o Kinsmen Park
o All other parks and playgrounds – limited maintenance

The Town has a contingency plan in place to continue delivering essential services to the community, which include the following:

o fire and emergency services;
o water and sewer issues;
o road and transport services;
o Finance services: permits, compliance letters, tax certificates and records; and
o landfill access for residential garbage collection contractors only (including North West River & Sheshatshiu) – commercial and general public access will not be permitted.

All other municipal services are deemed non-essential and will stop during a labour disruption.

Businesses and residents with concerns and questions are asked to call the Town Manager at 896-8222.

Service updates during a labour disruption will be communicated via the Town’s website (News section), www.happyvalley-goosebay.com, Facebook Page, Twitter account, CET Network and local radio stations.

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Media Contact:

Naomi Sharpe
Public Relations & Special Events Manager
Town of Happy Valley – Goose Bay
o) 709-896-3254 ; c) 709-896-1609
[email protected]

Background

In early 2015, the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and CUPE Local 2019 went through a labour disruption after failing to reach an agreement regarding pension. After a 30 day period, both parties reached an agreement that provided employees a cost-shared defined benefit plan and an 11.5 per cent increase over three years. The agreement was set to expire on December 31, 2015.

Over the past year, the fiscal situation of the province has changed significantly and is affecting the current round of negotiations. The Town’s offer represents a fair and reasonable wage increase, which is comparable to collective agreements reached with the Provincial Government and offers a competitive wage package which we feel is comparable to other municipalities.

The Town is being diligent in offering an increase to its employees that will not force us to increase the mil rate for residents. Town Council was able to decrease the mil rate by 21.9 per cent in the 2016 Municipal Budget to help off-set a high increase in property assessments. This is a decision that the Town does not want to reverse. As the Town is required, by law, to have a balanced budget a high wage increase would significantly affect municipal finances.

Negotiations Timeline

Fall, 2015 – The Town initiated bargaining and requested early negotiations with the goal of reaching a new agreement before the expiry date.

November 18, 2015 – Collective bargaining began between the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and CUPE Local 2019.

November 25, 2015 – After five days of negotiations, CUPE Local 2019 advised the Town they felt the situation was at an impasse. The Town expressed its desire to continue negotiations.

December 31, 2015 – The collective agreement between the Town of Happy Valley-Goose Bay and CUPE Local 2019 expired. The terms and conditions have continued to apply.

January 4, 2016 – The Town was notified by CUPE Local 2019 that they would be filing for conciliation by January 5, 2016.

January 8, 2016 – The Town submitted a letter to the Provincial Government suggesting the parties were not at an impasse or at a point for conciliation. Town was notified that a conciliator was appointed immediately upon receipt of the Union’s request, as per the Provincial Government’s process.

March 1, 2016 – Conciliation period began

June 23, 2016 – Conciliation period ended

June 30, 2016 – Conciliator filed a report with the Minister Responsible for the Labour Relations Agency and a 15 day “cooling-off period” began. Talks continued.

July 12, 2016 – The “cooling-off period” is set to expire. A legal work disruption could occur as early as July 16, 2016.