Fredericton approves new contract with Local 508 – Municipal outside workers

Written by Nathan DeLong, first published in the Daily Gleaner, May 29, 2024

The City of Fredericton and CUPE Local 508, the union representing the city’s outside maintenance workers have reached a tentative collective agreement after two days of negotiations earlier this month. Council unanimously approved a four-year deal Monday with Local 508 that includes annual increases based on the consumer price index, with no limits. The deal is retroactive to Jan. 1. Union president Chester Hickey said negotiations went smoothly, and 75 per cent of the union’s members supported the new agreement. He said city and union representatives will likely meet in early June to sign the agreement.
“The vote and negotiations went well,” he said. “Most of the members were happy with what was offered. The city was good to negotiate with. Kudos to everyone involved with that.”CUPE Local 508 represents the city’s roadway operations, H2O Fredericton, fleet services, parks and trees, and transit service workers.  A staff report presented to council said the union’s previous contract expired at the end of last year. Negotiations on a new deal were held at the end of April and early May, the report states. Hickey said he was pleased to see both sides reach an agreement quickly after talks broke down in 2020 and workers were locked out after giving the city a strike notice.

“It was a totally different mentality this time around compared to last time,” he said. “We had no issues. We came to a deal within two and a half days at the most.”This year’s pay bump was 6.83 per cent based on last year’s consumer price index, which Hickey said is updated annually in April for the union.In addition to the pay increases, Local 508 members will receive a benefits spending allowance of $256.39 this year, with the amounts for 2025, 2026, and 2027 being tied to the consumer price index. Members will also be given a $235 yearly clothing allowance, with supervisors getting an $800 annual tool allowance. The city will provide the union with “a letter of agreement looking at family and wellness days,” according to the staff report, along with changes to the agreement letter on the apprenticeship program and tweaks to the contract’s wording around workplace harassment protocols.

City spokesperson Elizabeth Fraser said the city won’t be commenting on the agreement until it’s ratified by the union. She said the cost to implement it “is in line with the consumer price index.” “We have budgeted accordingly for 2024 and will budget the appropriate amounts in 2025, 2026, and 2027,” Fraser said in an emailed statement.