The union that represents civic employees has now signed up all employees with Emterra – the company that took away the garbage and recycling work.
CUPE Local 500 president Mike Davidson said the union recently signed up 100 drivers and swampers, in addition to about 85 recycling plant employees who joined Local 500 in May.
"If you ever go through that (Emterra) plant, these are people that need a union," said CUPE Local 500 president Mike Davidson.
"Everybody wants to be treated fairly when it comes to wages and benefits, whether in a union or not," Davidson said. "That’s what these workers want."
Davidson said Local 500 is involved in negotiations with Emterra for the 85 recycling plant workers.
Davidson said swampers is the name given to Emterra employees who pitch garbage collection by hand in many of the city’s backlanes.
Signing up all the Emterra employees, save management, is a coup for CUPE Local 500, which represents about 5,000 City of Winnipeg workers and which was opposed to contracting out the collection of garbage and recycling.
Davidson said it’s not realistic to think that the Local 500 members at Emterra will be receiving the same wages and benefits as municipal workers – at least not yet.
"It will be a first contract, so they can’t expect to be where (municipal workers) are at, not at this time," Davidson said.
In addition to an improvement in wages and benefits, Davidson said Emterra members are expecting improvements in safe working conditions and the provision of protective clothing.