Latest offer to city workers includes wage freeze, CUPE says
CUPE Local 500 to vote on offer Wednesday; rejection would give union a strike mandate
Winnipeg's latest offer to members of the city's largest union includes a wage freeze and slow growth in pay after that, the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 president says.
The city's settlement offer is a four-year deal that includes a wage freeze during the first year, one per cent wage increases in the second and third year and a 1.25 per cent increase in the fourth year, Gord Delbridge said Tuesday.
"What we've been hearing is that we've been a scapegoat for many years. Kind of getting treated like third-class citizens. And we spent many years bailing the city out of harsh economic times and it's not fair," Delbridge said.
CUPE members learned about the offer Tuesday during information sessions at the RBC Convention Centre. Workers vote Wednesday on whether to accept it or not. The union is recommending members reject the offer.
If they vote to reject, it would give CUPE a strike mandate. The city has already begun asking managers to replace workers who may walk off the job.
"Right from day one, some of the concessions that they've given us have been like no other round of bargaining before. The whole tone right from day one has really been very disrespectful. They came at us with over two hundred pages of concessionary demands," Delbridge said, adding the city wants to cut maternity benefits and slash starting salaries for new employees by up to 30 per cent.
On Wednesday, City of Winnipeg spokesperson Felicia Wiltshire denied that language was in the city's latest offer.
CUPE Local 500 is the largest union at the City of Winnipeg, representing 5,070 employees in a range of different roles: from maintenance workers to librarians to 911 dispatchers.
Any work stoppage would cause direct service cuts to Winnipeggers, the city's chief corporate services officer has said.
The city employees have been without a contract since Dec. 24, 2016.
with files from Susan Magas and Bartley Kives