Tentative agreement averts strike and service disruptions in the City of Hamilton

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Published August 19, 2023 at 3:27 pm

In a significant stride towards resolution, a tentative agreement has been made between the City of Hamilton and the inside and outside workers of CUPE local 5167, as of last night (Aug. 18).

On Saturday (Aug. 19), the City of Hamilton announced on its website that during negotiations, the City and CUPE Local 5167  have reached a deal, which they see as “equitable for both its workforce and taxpayers.”

This tentative agreement comes after the union planned a strike deadline of Aug. 21, where the workers asserted that their contributions are vital to Hamilton residents and advocated for increased wages, citing the City’s growing living expenses as a considerable factor.

CUPE Local 5167—Hamilton’s largest bargaining unit with over 3,200 members–has also mentioned the challenges in recruiting and retaining workers when wages fail to keep up with inflation.

On Tuesday (Aug. 15), Hamilton residents were advised to make contingency plans if the union chose to follow through with the strike.

Some of the reduced or suspended services that would have greatly impacted the community included, childcare services, parks and recreation centres’ programs, animal services, solid waste and garbage pickup for some residents, bylaw, public health inspections, roads and sidewalks, Ontario Works services, customer service lines, museums and libraries, marriage ceremonies, events on City property and a number of services at city hall.

Leading up to the potential strike, Jay Hunter, president of CUPE Local 5167, made a statement on Aug. 4 pointing out that the City increased the wages for managers and non-union staff at a much higher rate than what the union’s members had requested.

Now that a tentative agreement has been reached, it is awaiting ratification by the CUPE Local 5167’s membership before being approved by City Council.

City of Hamilton Mayor Andrea Horwath commented on how cooperation and mutual respect played a huge role in negotiations.

“Our employees play a vital role in shaping our city’s success, and this agreement reflects our commitment to supporting their contributions while maintaining our commitment to fiscal responsibility,” she said.

According to the City’s recent press release, labour disruptions are not anticipated as both parties are committed to recommending the agreement for ratification.

“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,” the statement concluded.

Specifics of the discussion regarding the tentative agreement will be available to the public following the ratification process.

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