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City and CUPE in Grand Forks labour deal

A labour settlement in Grand Forks.

The city and the CUPE local have announced an agreement that sees a reduction in three positions but no layoffs. The job losses will come through attrition.

The city says it was vital to terminate the positions and it saves taxpayers $300,000 a year.

The union calls it a “mitigation” agreement. Here’s local 4728 President Sukie Lawrence .

But Lawrence calls the entire process an “unfortunate event” and said he hoped for better relations going forward. A few months ago the union staged a protest demanding respect and saying there was a poisoned atmosphere at city hall.

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Official announcement from City of Grand Forks.

The City of Grand Forks and CUPE Local #4728 are happy to announce that on December 17th an agreement was reached that sees no job layoffs to the current outside works’ staff. The agreement includes not filling two currently vacant Union positions, allowing for two outside workers to maintain their jobs. The third position will be absorbed through attrition (retirement) in 2016, and not immediately through a layoff.

This decision continues to respect the Asset Management Investment Plan which identifies significant financial gaps that exist within the organization. The Asset Management Investment Plan presents a balanced approach to reach annual funding goals in the amount of $300,000 per annum that will be achieved by reducing operational costs. This is part of the $1.7 million needed to replace the City’s aging infrastructure.

CUPE President, Sukie Lawrence, said today “that after 3 arduous months of negotiations and late night planning sessions the Union is overjoyed to have finally reached a mitigation agreement with the City of Grand Forks. CUPE Local 4728 has invested countless hours in this endeavor to protect our valuable members and their families from being turned out on the street. The Union executive would like to take this opportunity to thank the public at large for their consistent show of support during this trying exercise and let all concerned know that their efforts are recognized by all members of the local and are greatly appreciated. Moving forward, the Union executive hopes that if a situation like this were to arise again that the negotiation table will be the first option. Secure Union jobs are an economic driver in our small community and we believe that City Council recognizes this. We look to the New Year to be a new beginning on many levels, not least of which being a mending of fences between the Union and its employer. We intend to move past this unfortunate event, excited to have an opportunity to focus on our work. Every member of CUPE Local 4728 holds their positions with the City of Grand Forks in the highest regard and cherish the opportunity to serve the public (acquaintances, friends and family) with the highest degree of professionalism and dedication. Local 4728 plans to do their part in 2016 to make Grand Forks a better place to live, work and raise a family. ”

Mayor Konrad acknowledged that “this process took longer and was more difficult than was first anticipated, but I’m happy with the outcome and feel that we definitely reached the best solution for staff, the organization and the citizens of Grand Forks. The decision made by the administration to terminate three union positions was tough, but both parties were finally able to reach an agreement that accomplished the $300,000 annual savings for the organization without the layoffs.”

The Asset Management Investment plan addresses critical infrastructure replacement needs through a combination of operational changes. These changes will gradually build reserve funds allowing the City to grow the capital replacement fund and prepare for a financially sustainable future. The replacement of assets in combination with the reduction of the overall financial impact to the community, makes our community more livable for attracting future growth.

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