PORT ALBERNI – CUPE 118 and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District have ratified a new collective agreement concluding a ten-month negotiation that began in October 2018. The new five-year agreement is retroactive to July 2018, when the past agreement expired.
“This agreement is a direct result of ACRD workers standing strong, united in solidarity behind their bargaining committee, seeking fair treatment of casual and temporary staff,” said CUPE 118 President Stacy Watton. “While there is still work to do, these negotiations achieved new seniority protections for long-serving casuals and temporary staff, which was our goal from day-one.”
Creating seniority recognition and rights for casual and temporary staff was a point of friction between the parties throughout the negotiations. Union members were frustrated that long-serving, qualified temporary and casual workers were being passed over in favour of external hires, even after devoting years of service to the ACRD.
Frustrated over lack of progress in negotiations, ACRD workers passed a near unanimous strike vote in March. Union members began limited job action in June, but held off initiating a full strike pending a last-ditch effort to reach a settlement.
“ACRD workers are proud to service the communities in which they live and work, and wanted to exhaust all options to find a solution before disrupting service to residents,” said Watton. “We are pleased that the parties came together in time to avert a strike.”
In addition to seniority protections for casual and temporary workers, the new agreement features improvements to vision, eyeglass and dental benefits, and features wage adjustments of 2.25%, 2%, 2%, 2.25% and 2.5% respectively across the five-year agreement.
CUPE, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, is Canada’s largest union with more than 97,000 members in B.C. and over 680,000 coast-to-coast. Local 118 represents 230 members working at the District of Tofino, District of Ucluelet, City of Port Alberni and the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.