NELSON – Workers at the Nelson and District Community Complex (NDCC) continue to seek a fair and reasonable collective agreement as rotating strike action continues this week in Nelson.
The goal of the job action, says CUPE 2262 president Leford Lafayette, is to put pressure on the Regional District while causing as little disruption as possible to Nelson residents and NDCC users.
“In hopes that we would be able to settle this dispute we amended our position and took the benefit improvements we were previously seeking off the table,” said Lafayette. “We were hopeful that when the employer took a week to review their position that they would come back with a deal that included a cost of living wage increase for our members. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and since then we have had to take job action.”
Lafayette points out that Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is in a sound financial position and that each year a one percent increase would cost the RDCK only $10,000.
“At the expiry of our collective agreement in February 2011 the employer conveyed to all staff that they had seen record high revenues at the Nelson Complex,” said Lafayette. “The RDCK recently disclosed their financial statements for 2011 in which they reported a $3.6 million surplus in 2010 and a $14.7 million surplus in 2011.”
Workers in other surrounding regions have also seen wage increases similar to the two percent CUPE 2262 members are seeking.
“To the North, the Columbia-Shuswap Regional District unionized staff saw an average increase of 1.88 percent in each year of their agreement from 2011-2014, the East Kootenay District a 2 percent average from 2010-2012, to the South at the Kootenay Boundary Regional District a 1.8 percent average from 2011-2013, and to the West at the Sicamous & District Recreation Center an average increase of 2.88 percent each year from 2011-2014.”
Lafayette says rotating strike action will continue until further notice.
The union-sub local represents 55 members at the Nelson & District Community Complex who have been without a contract for 18 months. CUPE also represents employees at the Castlegar Complex, whose agreement expired 6 months ago and the employees at the Creston Complex whose contract will expire in early 2013.
Members of CUPE 2262 employed at NDCC include fitness technicians, lifeguards, Aquafit and swimming instructors, as well as maintenance, custodians, customer service representatives and child minders.