U of M avoids strike

The University of Manitoba recently dodged a strike, but now workers for the City of Winnipeg face a similar battle.

The University of Manitoba and CAW Local 3007 recently wrapped up their negotiations, resulting in a new contract for support staff at the university.
The university and CAW 3007 successfully negotiated a 2.9 per cent wage increase effective Sept. 29 of 2012. This will be followed by another wage increase of 1.45 per cent, from Sept. 28 of 2013 to March 28, 2014.

U of M director of public affair John Danakas said he felt very pleased that the negotiations had been successful and a settlement had been reached.

“It took a lot of work on both sides, and it’s a very positive result to have a new collective agreement without any strike action being taken.”

Frank Wright, the chair of committee for CAW Local 3007, declined to comment on the settlement when contacted.

When the local’s contract was last up for negotiation in October 2007, the support staff employees struck for nine days. After almost 20 hours of negotiations spread over two days, the union eventually accepted the university’s original offer of 2.5, 2.5, and 2.9 per cent wage increases over three years.

On Feb. 18 CUPE Local 500, which represents about 5,000 city of winnipeg employees voted 87 per cent in favor of rejecting the city of Winnipeg’s offer.
Karen Byzuk, a spokesperson for CUPE Local 500, explained that workers have voted in favour of strike action and that a strike mandate had been issued, though she could not comment on the decision.

Byzuk explained that CUPE Local 500 and the city were still in the bargaining process over the issues of job security, a reasonable wage increase, protecting their pension, and no concessions.

“Those are the four main ones; once we surveyed the membership, those were identified and that’s what we’re negotiating in this round,” said Byzuk.
Members of CUPE Local 500 work in a variety of frontline jobs for the city, including waste disposal, public works, community services and recreation.
Byzuk said that negotiations opened in late December of 2010 and that a majority of workers voted in favour of rejecting the settlement that was offered at the time.

“We’re optimistic that talks will continue and we will reach a settlement,” said Byzuk.

On Feb. 28 the city and CUPE Local 500 resumed negotiations, however as of press time CUPE 500’s website was reporting that the city failed to table a new proposal.

The City of Winnipeg could not be reached for comment.