Avenue Living threatens job cuts with new contract

The property management company has presented a pretty sweet offer for the first contract with Lloydminster maintenance workers. But it comes with a price.

Last June, Local 401 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union announced that maintenance workers in Lloydminster had joined their union.

Last week, Local 401 published a media release that said the employer, Avenue Living, has presented a pretty sweet offer. But it comes with a price.

According to the release, the offer includes improvements and clarification for workers’ rights in several key areas:

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  • Employee rights
  • No discrimination
  • Union recognition and rights
  • Security camera use
  • Whistleblower protections
  • A clean slate on all disciplines currently on file
  • Grievance and arbitration processes to resolve disputes
  • Health and safety improvements
  • Hours of work and overtime language
  • Employee tools and equipment
  • Car allowance
  • Rent subsidies
  • Vacation entitlements

The proposal from Avenue Living has starting wages, effective from the start of the first pay period after ratification, as follows:

Start4,160 hours10,400 hours
Maintenance associate (support)$18.50$22.50
Maintenance associate$22.50$25.50$26.50

They also proposed a 4% wage increase in the second year of the contract and a 3% increase in the third year of the contract.

Plus, if the workers ratify this proposed contract, they would receive an additional $2 an hour in pay retroactive to 1 June 2022, which could work out to nearly $5,000.

And that’s not counting the $1,000 signing bonus Avenue Living wants to throw in there.

“There’s a lot of really good contract language and monetary improvements for all the workers,” Chris O’Halloran, the executive director of Local 401, said of the contract. “They have also tabled a fair amount of protections and money.”

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that if the workers accept this deal, they have to accept that Avenue Living will eliminate unit turn positions.

Unit turn workers are responsible for renovating units in between occupancy, including cabinetry work, painting, plumbing maintenance, and so on.

The union believes that this move is an unfair labour practice, and they are prepared to file a complaint with the Alberta Labour Relations Board regarding it.

However, given the lucrative nature of their first contract, the union wanted to give the workers the chance to decide whether to accept the proposed contract, even if it means the elimination of the unit turn positions, or reject the offer and file the unfair labour practice complaint.

The ratification vote will occur tomorrow in Lloydminster, and workers eligible to vote should have received an email with vote locations and times.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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