News / Vancouver

City of Vancouver reaches tentative deal with outside workers union

The City of Vancouver and CUPE Local 1004, the union that represents its outside workers, reached a tentative deal over the weekend.

Vancouver City Hall.

Emily Jackson/Metro

Vancouver City Hall.

The City of Vancouver announced a tentative deal for a new collective agreement with the union that represents its outside workers.

The city and CUPE Local 1004, which represents about 1,600 city and park board employees, reached the deal less than three months after the prior four-year agreement expired on Dec. 31, 2015.

No details will be revealed until city council and the union members ratify the deal. If passed, it will mark the second uneventful round of negotiations between the Vision Vancouver majority council and the outside workers.

Relations between the parties have been largely peaceful since 2007 when the city was rocked by an 88-day strike where garbage collectors refused to pick up the trash. The conflict was ultimately resolved with a five-year agreement that featured improved benefits and an outline for 2010 Winter Olympics work.

The last round of negotiations ended in 2013 and resulted in a three-year contract from 2012 to 2015. It included annual wage increases of up to two per cent.

Entering this round of talks, the outside workers expressed concerns there aren’t enough staff to keep the city clean since approximately 80 jobs have disappeared since 2011.

“It’s difficult to keep the green spaces as clean as you expect them to be when we don’t have enough human resources,” CUPE Local 1004 president Andrew Ledger warned council at a December 2015 budget meeting. He described workers in a time crunch who mowed lawns before trash was picked up, resulting in “a confetti of garbage” at some city parks. 

CUPE Local 1004 last made headlines during the 2014 municipal election campaign when it donated to Vision Vancouver after Coun. Geoff Meggs made a campaign speech stating the mayor had “re-committed to not expand contracting out.”

NPA mayoral candidate Kirk LaPointe accused Mayor Gregor Robertson of a “corrupt deal” with the union when Vision accepted the donation. The mayor and CUPE sued LaPointe for defamation over the statements. A judge sided with the mayor and CUPE, and LaPointe apologized to both parties.