New Contract Improves City Worker Protections Against Outsourcing Through P3s

January 22, 2009, 11:50 AM EST

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City of Welland workers have overwhelmingly ratified a new two-year collective agreement that contains landmark language improvements that protect workers against outsourcing through P3s, said CAW Local 523 President Rick Alakas.

City workers, represented by CAW Local 523, were locked in a bitter dispute over a series of monetary and non-monetary issues, including job security in the event that City official construct a new arena under a public-private partnership (P3) arrangement. 

Negotiations between the city and union broke down in early January resulting in a three-day strike by workers lasting from January 9 to 11 before a tentative settlement was reached. Members ratified the new agreement by a margin of 91 per cent at a meeting on January 12.

The agreement includes wage increases, moderate benefit improvements, and landmark job security language that include arenas in the definition of city property and fall within the terms of the collective agreement. In December, the City issued a directive to city officials to begin exploring public-private partnership opportunities for the purpose of building new community arenas.

"This small amendment to the contract language guarantees members' jobs won't be outsourced should the City build a new arena with private contractors," Alakas said. "This may seem a small victory for workers in Welland, but it has much broader implications for municipal workers across Canada."

The 80-member unit provides a range of outside services for the Welland community, including parks and recreation, snow plowing, water and sewer system and road maintenance.

The new contract is set to expire on December 31, 2010.

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