Cold Lake city workers to vote on 11.75% pay raise

These workers have been without a contract since last year.

The Alberta Union of Provincial Employees announced last week that their negotiation team recently reached a tentative new contract on behalf of municipal workers employed by the City of Cold Lake.

City workers have been working without a new contract since the end of last year, when their most recent contract expired; although bargaining for the new contract began only 5 months ago.

The new tentative agreement was reached by the AUPE bargaining team and the employer on 17 October.

The two parties agreed to a total of 11.75% in wage increases over the life of the 5-year contract.

The first increase, if ratified by the workers, will be 1.5% and retroactive to 1 January 2022. Every other increase will be effective on 1 January of subsequent years: 2% next year, then 2.25%, 2.75%, and 3.25%.

Here it is in a table.

1 January 20221.50%
1 January 20232.00%
1 January 20242.25%
1 January 20252.75%
1 January 20263.25%

Plus, full-time workers will receive a $600 lump sum payment if they were employed at ratification, and $300 will go to part-time workers.

Keep in mind that Alberta’s inflation rate averaged 6.47% over the first 9 months of the year. That means that these workers won’t see wages increased sufficiently enough to cover inflation costs until partway through the 4th year of the contract. And that’s just inflation over the last year!

Workers will also see they health and wellness amount increase by $200 to $1,000 a year.

The employer agreed to make the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation a paid holiday and increased bereavement leave to 4 days from the previous 3.

Water treatment plant workers will also be entitled to two pairs of boots.

The new contract also improves language around harassment, discrimination, hours of work, termination grievance, and maternity leave.

Until workers vote on and approve this contract, however, it’s only tentative. AUPE will hold a ratification vote next week (5 November).

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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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