Update: Hamilton’s inside and outside workers ratify new deal

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Published September 5, 2023 at 2:02 pm

COURTESY OF CUPE LOCAL 5167 VIA TWITTER
COURTESY OF CUPE LOCAL 5167 VIA TWITTER

Hamilton’s inside and outside workers have voted to accept the collective agreement it reached with the City on Sept. 1, including improvements in wages and benefits such as massage therapy and glasses.

CUPE Local 5167,  the City’s largest bargaining unit with more than 3,200 members, said it is now waiting for City council to ratify the deal.

“We are happy to report it’s the leading contract in our sector,” said Jason Lucas, vice-president of CUPE Local 5167, in an email to inthehammer.com today (Sept. 5). “We want to thank the labour community at large for its support, and most importantly thank all of members who participated in this long and stressful process with us.”

Lucas said the four-year deal has wages increasing by 3.75 per cent in the first year, three per cent in the second year, three per cent in the third year and three per cent in the fourth year. Moreover, massage therapy coverage will increase by $10 per session and glasses coverage will rise by $100 to $450 every two years.

The vote was the largest in the union’s history, according to CUPE Local 5167. Since the union switched to online voting three years ago, Lucas said it tripled participation in the voting process. He explained that the union doesn’t release numbers for the ratification vote “to prevent any impact on ongoing relations and future negotiations.”

Lora Fontana, the City’s executive director of human resources, said the four-year settlement covers the period from Jan. 1, 2023 to Dec. 31, 2026.

“Now that CUPE members have ratified the agreement, staff will be bringing a confidential report forward to the September 13, 2023 Council meeting, for Council’s consideration and ratification,” she said in a statement to inthehammer.com today (Sept. 5).

The union had reached a tentative agreement with the City of Hamilton on Aug. 19, a few days before the Aug. 21 strike deadline. The City had warned residents ahead of the deadline to prepare for a potential labour disruption, which would have affected services from childcare to some garbage pickups. 

“Throughout the negotiation process, both the City and CUPE Local 5167 have engaged in open and constructive discussions and reached a deal the City believes is fair to employees and taxpayers,” the City wrote in a press release when it had struck the tentative deal on Aug. 19. “The City recognizes and appreciates the dedication and hard work of unionized employees, whose contributions are integral to the programs and services that Hamiltonians rely on.”

CUPE Local 5167, Hamilton’s largest bargaining unit, began negotiating with the City on Feb. 6 to increase wages in line with inflation.  The union asked the conciliator to file a no-board report, which was issued on Aug. 4, putting it in a legal strike position on Aug. 21 at 12:01 a.m.

“Hamilton is one of the most expensive places to live and inflation is still on the rise. And Local 5167 is very clear that we are not willing to go below a wage that’s reflective of the needs of our members,” the union wrote on a petition on its website.

 

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