City, union in dispute over garbage pilot project

Arbitrator to look into dispute between city, union over pilot project


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The city and its largest union are “deadlocked” in their dispute over a garbage collection pilot project, which an arbitrator will soon attempt to sort out.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/03/2020 (932 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The city and its largest union are “deadlocked” in their dispute over a garbage collection pilot project, which an arbitrator will soon attempt to sort out.

On Tuesday, council’s executive policy committee voted to seek an arbitrator’s view on whether or not a 2018 settlement agreement requires the city to ensure a two-year test of public garbage collection takes place.

The pilot, with one multi-family garbage contract, was supposed to begin on Feb. 1, but city staff recommended cancelling it over budget concerns, estimating it would cost $656,000 more than a $2.2-million private option.

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Gord Delbridge president of the CUPE Local 500.

Council’s vote on the cancellation has been delayed multiple times, after the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) claimed dropping the plan now would violate the agreement.

Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital) said the two sides still can’t agree on how to interpret the settlement. He said CUPE believes the deal guarantees the pilot project, while the city argues the higher price estimate warrants its cancellation.

“The parties are deadlocked on the meaning of that memorandum,” said Mayes.

The settlement was created to resolve a 2016 CUPE grievance, which alleged the city unfairly overlooked in-house collection in its previous major garbage contract.

The settlement itself calls for the two sides to “participate in the pilot project.” It then states “the parties must stay within budgetary confines of the contract in operation in a given year. This may necessitate the parties negotiating changes to the existing collective agreement.”

Gord Delbridge, president of CUPE Local 500, said that clause clearly spells out that the pilot project must happen, with any budget issues handled when it’s already in place.

“The language was very clear… If there was something that came up as a cost-effective means to make the project successful, we could negotiate that. It was not a way out,” said Delbridge.

If city council does cancel the pilot project, CUPE would reinstate its 2016 grievance, Delbridge said. 

Joyanne Pursaga

Joyanne Pursaga

Born and raised in Winnipeg, Joyanne loves to tell the stories of this city, especially when politics is involved. Joyanne became the city hall reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press in early 2020.

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