UPDATE: City, CUPE 363 finalize new city staff contract

Updated Mar. 16 to include additional information, figures and interview with new CAO Tim Palmer

The City of Revelstoke and union city staff have agreed to a new collective agreement that will see wage increases of 1.25 per cent in the first two contract years and 1.5 per cent in the last two years of the four-year contract.

CUPE 363 ratified the agreement on Mar. 5 followed by the city on Mar. 8. The new agreement covers from Jan. 1, 2010 to Dec. 31, 2013.

“I’m extremely happy with this co-operative partnership with CUPE,” mayor David Raven said in a joint statement from the union and the City of Revelstoke.

“Although this agreement took a long time to finalize, the process was very positive,” said CUPE 363 president Jesse Adam. “This was a constructive, joint effort in problem solving that has created even better labour relations. We look forward to continuing to provide Revelstoke residents with quality public services.”

Negotiations on the new contract lasted about 14 months. New City of Revelstoke Chief Administrative Officer Tim Palmer told the Times Review the negotiations involved an extensive restructuring of the collective agreement, and that the negotiations took place in a cooperative environment.

“It’s a really great relationship with the union we’ve created. There’s an environment of cooperation on both sides that is very exciting for the community,” Palmer said in an interview. “It’s a very cooperative approach that we’re taking on labour relations, and I’m really looking forward to working with all the employees of this city in the coming months and years.”

Palmer believes this spirit of cooperation will result in an increased level of service.

The cost of the wage increase for the city totals $56,500 in 2010, $57,250 in 2011, $69,500 in 2012 and $70,500 in 2013. This includes an addition for fringe benefits.

City finance director Graham Inglis said other benefit increases are expected to cost about $10,000 per year. Sick leave entitlement will total $11,000 to $12,000 per year if fully utilized.

The contract was negotiated in part by former city parks and recreation director Alan Chell. His fees to the city in 2010 for the negotiations was $15,570.

The approximately 85 union staff members affected by the contract negotiations perform a wide variety of services including snow removal, road maintenance, parks and recreation work, sewer services, water services, garbage collection, building inspections, finance duties and engineering and planning staff, amongst others.