CUPE 1761 achieves new contract with the Town of Placentia

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

Town of Placentia – Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1761, municipal workers with the Town of Placentia, have finalized a new collective agreement with their employer today.

The union successfully pushed back the zero wage increase offered by the town. The new contract includes wage increases and other improvements.

“Our members are proud to deliver quality public services,” says Gerry Quilty, president of CUPE 1761. “We are an integral part of the community here, and we are pleased we were able to reach a deal and put an end to this difficult round of bargaining.”

Today’s agreement concludes the longest round of bargaining in the local’s history. After 14 months of disappointing negotiations, the workers went on strike July 16, 2019. They will return to work tomorrow.

The new contract will take effect April 1, 2018 and will expire in four years.

“We would sincerely like to thank all the union members that came out to support us. The overwhelming solidarity shown to us was greatly appreciated,” says Quilty. “We’d also like to thank residents and our community for their patience and support.”

CUPE 1761 represents 15 municipal workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

Sherry Hillier radio VOCM

Listen to the radio ad: A Labour Day message from CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier

creynolds Article

Sherry Hillier radio VOCMIn the lead up to Labour Day, CUPE Newfoundland Labrador will be running a radio ad on stations across the province.

The ad will run for four days, from August 30 to September 2, 2019.

Also, here’s a list of Labour Day events taking place across the province: nlfl.nf.ca/2019/08/labour-day-events-2019 

Listen to the ad

Placentia municipal workers are ready for a fair deal to get back to work

creynolds News Release

Members of CUPE Local 1761, representing municipal workers at the Town of Placentia, are ready for a fair deal that saves the Town money and gets them back on the job, providing valued public services to their community.

On Tuesday, August 13, CUPE attempted to end the ongoing job action by offering changes to scheduling language that would have saved the Town tens of thousands of dollars over the term of a new agreement. In turn, CUPE proposed a highly reasonable wage increase averaging 40 cents per hour, representing a 1.5 per cent increase, which would still put members below the forecasted cost of living in Newfoundland and Labrador – an offer the workers were willing to make to end the job dispute.

The dedicated and hardworking members of Local 1761 were disappointed, barely two hours later, when the Town posted a bulletin on Facebook claiming the Town could not
afford a 2 per cent increase – something CUPE is no longer asking for. The Town has also claimed that Placentia employees make more than municipal workers in other towns across Newfoundland, but consistently refuses to provide details on how they come to that conclusion.

“It’s frustrating to see the mayor peddling misinformation about our bargaining proposals and ignoring the compromises that our members have made in order to reach a deal,”
said Gerry Quilty, President of CUPE Local 1761. “The reality is, any further wage reductions are going to leave our members worse off tomorrow than they are today, which is unfair to the workers, and means less money being spent here in the local economy.”

Quilty said if the mayor won’t accept CUPE’s reasonable offer, then he should at least table a counter offer, rather than mislead the public and frustrate negotiations by spreading false information.

“It’s time for the mayor to shelf the sky-is-falling rhetoric and do what other mayors around our beautiful province have done, which is make a deal that respects the work and the value that town employees provide for their communities,” said Quilty. “We’re ready to meet tomorrow to get a deal done.”

Placentia’s mayor needs to focus less on grandstanding, more on finalizing new contract

creynolds News Release

Town of Placentia, NL – Placentia’s mayor needs to focus his energy on finalizing a new contract with employees – not on rhetoric, says the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), the union representing the town’s fifteen municipal workers.

“We’re disappointed with the mayor’s comments made today, especially the day before we have a meeting set with the employer and the conciliation officer to get back to negotiations,” says CUPE 1761 President Gerry Quilty. “What purpose does it serve? Let’s get back to the table and get this contract done.”

“The mayor’s actions today have left us with no choice but to address his inaccuracies when we would rather be at the bargaining table,” says Mark Cunningham, CUPE national representative. “Inflating numbers to mislead town residents is just bad practice.”

“Through the conciliation officer, we are asking the town council to provide the calculations they used in the mayor’s statement,” says Cunningham. “We’ve closely examined the town budgets and expenses, past collective agreements, and the province’s inflation predictions. The numbers simply don’t add up and are far different from what we’ve been able to verify.”

“Using scare tactics and words like a ‘million dollars’ when speaking to residents is not only irresponsible, it’s simply untrue,” says Cunningham. “We want residents to know that our members are not asking for a raise, only an increase that keeps up with the cost of living.”

“The direct wage increases our members are asking for will cost approximately $15,000 per year, for all 15 workers combined. We think that’s reasonable and fair,” says Cunningham. “Yes, there are also benefits and pensions to consider, but the employer’s numbers are highly overstated.”

“We think the mayor is intentionally misleading the public. Residents, workers and our community deserve better,” says Quilty.

 

CUPE’s national union president stands with striking Placentia municipal workers

creynolds News Release

Members of CUPE 1761 with Mark Hancock and Sherry HillierOn August 6, CUPE National President Mark Hancock brought a message of support and solidarity on behalf of CUPE’s 680,000 members across Canada, to encourage Placentia municipal workers to stand strong as their strike enters into the fourth week. “In every community across Canada, just like here in Placentia, we are protecting what generations of working people have negotiated, like good pensions and decent wages,” says Hancock.

“CUPE National will be there for the members of Local 1761, whether it be to walk the picket line or through our national strike fund. I’m also here today to send a message to the mayor and council that they’re not just facing these 15 members, they’re facing our entire national union.”

Hancock was in Placentia to participate in a community appreciation day and barbeque and to make a contribution to the local union’s strike fund. The event was hosted by CUPE 1761 to give thanks to the many residents and friends who have shown their support during this difficult round of negotiations. Messages of solidarity and support were also offered by CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier, NL Federation of Labour President Mary Shortall, and many union leaders from across the country.

“Contrary to what the mayor has said, CUPE is willing to meet with the employer anytime and willing to negotiate terms of the contract,” says CUPE 1761 President Gerry Quilty.

“We spoke with the conciliator today. He told us that the employer refuses to budge, so scheduling a bargaining session at this time is probably pointless,” adds CUPE National Representative Mark Cunningham.

“We’re asking for a cost of living increase, which means we’ll just break even over the four years. We’re not asking for a raise,” says Quilty. “Anything less than a cost of living increase means real wage losses for us and for our families.”

“The mayor has been fear-mongering by leading residents to believe that taxes will increase if wage increases are given. However, past collective agreements did not cause taxes to increase,” says Cunningham. “As well, the mayor claims it was necessary to hire outside consultants because the council lacks experience in bargaining. However, Mayor Power himself was on a past bargaining team for the town.

“Most importantly, we want the residents of Placentia to know that we have always been willing to continue negotiations, and will continue to do so, regardless of the strike,” says Quilty.

CUPE National President Mark Hancock to attend community BBQ with striking Placentia municipal workers

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

At a Community BBQ and Appreciation Day to be held August 6, the members of CUPE 1761 will be joined by CUPE National President Mark Hancock and
CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier.

CUPE 1761 members will host the event to thank everyone in their community and other unions for their support, stopping by the picket line, or putting up one of their lawn signs. Placentia residents are invited to stop by to show their support or to ask questions about the negotiations.

“We truly appreciate the support and understanding the residents in Placentia have shown us,” says Gerry Quilty, CUPE 1761 president. “We love our community and providing public services to the residents of Placentia. When we made the difficult decision to walk off the job, we did so with great care and respect for the community we live in.”

DATE: Tuesday, August 6, 2019

TIME: 11:30 a.m.

LOCATION: Town Hall, 21 Patterson Drive, Placentia

Everyone is welcome to the event.

CUPE 1761 represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Reynolds
CUPE Atlantic Communications
creynolds@cupe.ca

NAPE an CUPE flags at a rally

NAPE President Jerry Earle to join striking Placentia municipal workers on picket line Tuesday

creynolds News Release

Media Advisory

NAPE an CUPE flags at a rallyTown of Placentia, NL – As a sign of support and solidarity, NAPE representatives, staff and members will join with striking CUPE 1761 workers on the picket line tomorrow. NAPE President Jerry Earle will also be in attendance.

DATE: Tuesday, July 30, 2019

TIME: 12:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Town Hall, 21 Patterson Drive, Placentia

CUPE 1761 members, employed by the Town of Placentia, have been on strike since July 16, 2019, after 14 months of disappointing negotiations with their employer. The union represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.

“We’re stronger when we stand together,” says CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier, agreeing with comments from NAPE President Jerry Earle. “Thank you to our NAPE brothers and sisters!”

– 30 –

For more information, please contact:

Colleen Reynolds
CUPE Atlantic Communications
(902) 209-2253

Sherry Hillier and Gerry Quilty

CUPE NL Division and CUPE Local 1615 present strike fund cheques to Town of Placentia municipal workers

creynolds Collective Bargaining, News Release

Sherry Hillier and Gerry QuiltyCUPE Newfoundland Labrador President Sherry Hillier presented a $1,500 contribution today to striking municipal workers, members of CUPE 1761, who are employed by the Town of Placentia. As well, CUPE 1615 President Theresa Antle presented a $500 cheque to the strike fund on behalf of members at Memorial University.

“CUPE members across the province stand in solidarity with Placentia municipal workers in their struggle for a fairly negotiated collective agreement,” says Hillier. “Going on strike is a last resort and a difficult decision that these members had to make, but CUPE 1761 members felt that after 14 months, with no end in sight, they had no option. Hopefully, the employer will listen and return to bargaining a fair collective agreement.”

Former Placentia mayors Bill Horgan and Wayne Power Jr. with CUPE membersFormer Town of Placentia mayors, Wayne Power Jr. and Bill Hogan also stopped by the picket line today to offer words of encouragement and best wishes to the 15 members of CUPE 1761. During their tenures as mayor, collective agreements were successfully negotiated within a four to five-month period, as normally expected.

There has been little or no progress on issues surrounding wages, scheduling and work-life balance. The employer has proposed three years of zero wage increases followed by a one per cent increase in the fourth year of the contract. “We’re asking that our wages increase with the cost of living. We think that’s fair and reasonable,” says CUPE 1761 President Gerry Quilty. “Little or no wage increases mean ‘real wage losses’ that will impact our members, their families, and the local economy.”

“The employer has proposed creating a rotating weekend shift for the current five water treatment operators, where each operator would work the weekend every five weeks. However, the language proposed by the employer guarantees two consecutive days off each week,” says Mark Cunningham, CUPE national representative. “How can a person have two consecutive days off if they must work seven days in a row every fifth week? The employer needs to present clear language on scheduling.”

Negotiations began May 14, 2018, when both sides met to present their first proposal package.

Placentia municipal workers joined on picket line by CUPE NL president

gmcneil Collective Bargaining, News Release

PLACENTIA – Striking municipal workers in Placentia, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1761, were buoyed by a visit from CUPE Newfoundland Labrador President Sherry Hillier this morning.

“I am proud to stand with these hard-working members who did everything in their power to avoid withdrawing services,” Hillier says. “But when an employer won’t sit down and bargain, and then sends in hired consultants to further delay the process, the members felt they had no choice. This seemed to be the only way to get the employer back to the table.”

The local made the decision to withdraw services a few days before the mayor suggested a meeting on July 18, says CUPE Local 1761 President Gerry Quilty. “We would have been happy to meet before our chosen strike date of July 16, but the employer indicated once again they were not available. This is just one more example of how the employer refuses to take the bargaining process seriously.”

After more than 14 months of drawn-out negotiations there has been little or no progress on issues surrounding working conditions, such as scheduling, says Quilty. “For example, they have yet to explain how a proposed seven-day work schedule for public works will impact a department that has only five employees.”

The issue of wages has also not been resolved. “We are appalled at the zero wage increase being offered by the town,” says Quilty. “A zero wage increase is basically a pay cut. Our members go above and beyond to deliver quality services to the residents of Placentia, and they deserve better.”

CUPE municipal workers walk off the job in Town of Placentia

gmcneil Collective Bargaining, News Release

PLACENTIA – Municipal workers in the Town of Placentia, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1761, have walked off the job after 14 months of disappointing negotiations with their employer.

“The decision to withdraw services was not taken lightly,” says Local 1761 President Gerry Quilty . “But the members are completely frustrated with the bargaining process which has seen delay after delay and a total lack of commitment on the part of the employer to reach an agreement.”

The local has been in bargaining since May of 2018, and voted 100 percent in favour of strike on April 17. Quilty says the members were extremely reluctant to disappoint residents who rely on town services, but they do not feel respected and enough is enough. “We know the importance of maintaining services but obviously the mayor doesn’t,” he says.

CUPE National Representative Mark Cunningham says the fact the town hired outside consultants to do its bargaining resulted in unnecessary delays. “In the past we have bargained directly with town officials,” he says, “and in fact,  in the last two rounds of bargaining — in 2012 and 2015 — we were able to conclude negotiations in 19 weeks or less.”

CUPE 1761 represents 15 workers employed as clerical staff, arena attendants, maintenance/water treatment operators, labourers and municipal enforcement officers.