Town of Amherst, CUPE Local 1233 ratify new contract

A three-year contract with CUPE Local 1233 was ratified by Amherst town council on Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, during a special meeting of council.

The contract, which expires on March 31, 2023, provides members of the union with a two per cent wage increase in the first and second year of the contract and a 1.5 per cent raise in the final year. The wages and benefit increase in the first year of the contract total $35,100 and is included in the 2020-21 operating budgets of the Amherst water utility and general operating fund.

“We are very pleased to have been able to reach this agreement with CUPE Local 1233 without the use of an outside mediator,” Amherst CAO Greg Herrett said. “This agreement is consistent with recent settlements in this sector and in line with comparable municipal units.”Contract signing 1 C

Mayor David Kogon, who noted the negotiations were delayed a bit by the COVID-19 pandemic, echoed the CAO’s comments. He thanked the union and town’s bargaining committees for working diligently to reach an agreement that was acceptable to both parties.

Matt Gould, CUPE Local 1233 president, said he was pleased the two parties could reach an agreement.

“New language in the contract allows for improved flexibility and opportunities for work in other departments,” Gould said.

That new language gives the town the ability to offer members of one department who would be laid off temporary work with another department. As an example, if a public works employee was to be laid off, the employee could be offered a temporary work assignment with the recreation department.

The contract also has changes in language that make the vacation clause in the contract consistent with the town’s non-union employee vacation policy.

CUPE Local 1233 members, which represents heavy equipment operators, mechanics, stadium operators and park attendants that work in the town’s operation services department, water utility and recreation facilities, have also voted to accept the contract.

The new contract replaces one that expired in 2018, but was extended by one year on two different occasions, with the last extension expiring on March 31, 2020.