Oct 20, 2021

CUPE 23 job evaluation settlement well worth the effort

BURNABY—CUPE 23 recently won a major arbitration that brings overdue equity to parks and recreation members. The ruling – affecting over 200 members working in Clerk 1, 2, and 3 positions – will increase their wages one to two dollars per hour on average. All members covered under the arbitrated settlement will also receive retroactive pay to January 1, 2016.

CUPE 23 President Bruce Campbell and the local executive have been fighting the issue of pay inequity for decades. Clerks at City Hall had received a wage increase through a job re-classification, but the same increase was not given to parks and recreation clerks doing the same work. The local used a job evaluation comparator to make their case in the grievance.

As well as the unfairness of the inequity, the department had a retention problem because once hired by the City of Burnaby, many parks and recreation clerks would apply to work elsewhere in the city.

Campbell credits the hard work of the bargaining committee, executive and members in achieving the win. The 2016 bargaining committee negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement giving the local the right to grieve if agreement on job evaluation could not be reached by the two-person committee as determined by their contract.

“Thanks to the 2016 bargaining committee and to the current executive who kept us moving forward these last five years,” said Campbell, explaining that the Local’s executive and committee members stood strong and did not give up on the grievance. “We held the line and did not give up the fight.”

Although approximately 250 cases were resolved through the two-person committees, a grievance for those outstanding was filed in 2016. The arbitrator has ruled in all but one case, with the final case to go back to the arbitrator to decide if the employer and union cannot agree to a solution.

The final outcome for the local? Over 200 parks and recs workers will receive wage increases and retroactive pay to January 1, 2016, totalling approximately $1.5 million. Full time workers will receive a minimum of $2,000 in additional wages each year.

Campbell said that members are grateful to get retroactive pay and a rate increase. “Advocating for our members and seeing it through to the finish took a long time, but it was worth the wait,” said Campbell.

COPE 491