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Saskatoon water workers reject city offer after more than two years without deal

Saskatoon Wastewater plant
CUPE has about 130 workers at Saskatoon's water and wastewater treatment plants. The workers have been without a collective agreement with the City since the end of 2016. The Wastewater Treatment Plant in Saskatoon, pictured, was built in 1971. Photo Credit: City of Saskatoon.

The City of Saskatoon’s unionized water and wastewater treatment plant workers have rejected the City’s latest attempt to solidify a contract, despite having been without one since the end of 2016.

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local No. 47, which also represents Saskatoon’s meter shop and environmental protection officers, conducted a two day ratification vote on June 24 and 26, but 93% of members rejected the City’s offer.

“The City’s offer was filled with concessions and extremely poor wage increases. Our members have made it clear: we stand together against concessions,” said Troy Daw, president of CUPE Local No. 47, in a statement to media.

Saskatoon continues to struggle with forming new collective agreements. All but one of the City’s collective agreements with its unions have been expired for more than a year.

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CUPE Local No. 47 water workers current collective agreement expired at the end of 2016, at which time a water service technician made an annual salary of $73,059.

According to CUPE, one of the most contentious issues involves the elimination of “hours of work” language bargained in previous agreements. This means that workers may not have secure hours of work, which will impact work and life balance for water workers.

“Our water workers always step up to the plate when the City requests them to alter hours of work in emergencies and for special projects,” explained Daw. “Many Local 47 members have young families and want the ability to have some level of work and life balance. Balance can only be achieved through secure hours of work language in the collective agreement,” he added.

CUPE has about 130 workers at Saskatoon’s water and wastewater treatment plants.

The City of Saskatoon is seeking approval for a deal with its outside workers, the first of its groups of expired union contracts to be settled.

Among others, Saskatoon Public Library workers have also been without a contract since 2016.

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  1. They should invest in a bio digester, produce methane, heat and electrify buildings and homes then increase wages with the kickbacks. Carbon will be the final product and will be released back into atmosphere but it’s recycled carbon that’s being produced not like oil and natural gas from the ground which ADDs carbon to the air.


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