Trenton town workers reject offer

John Brannen
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TRENTON – Labour negotiations between the Town of Trenton and some of its employees are at a standstill. 

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 281, which represents half a dozen mostly public works employees, rejected the town’s final offer.

Employees had previously been able to redeem a full day’s pay for unused sick days upon retirement.

“What the employer is demanding is that employees only be allow to access 50 per cent of what they’re entitled to,” said CUPE National Representative Betty Jean Sutherland. “That was their final offer to a longstanding part of these employees’ collective agreements

The two sides have called in a conciliation officer from the Department of Labour to help assist in bargaining.

Trenton chief administrative officer Cathy MacGillivray, who is leading negotiations for the town, said they still want to negotiate.

“We’ve had a number of sessions and we are prepared to negotiate until a settlement is reached,” MacGilllivray said.

The affected public works employees mainly deal with the town’s snowplowing, street cleaning, maintenance of the water treatment plant and seasonal parks and recreation.

Sutherland noted that CUPE had offered an alternative to cutting the employees unused sick day pay upon retirement in half, but was rebuffed.

“Currently, we have seven employees that are unionized and then two and a part-time workers at rink,” she said. “This means for nine-and-a-half employees there are three full-paid supervisors. We offered to restructure to allow for one supervisor but they weren’t responsive.”

Sutherland noted that the town’s approach makes little sense since affected employees won’t be retiring anytime in the near future.

“I don’t see how it’s a wage issue. We offered them a way of saving money now and they turned back on it.”

No further meetings between the two sides have been planned at the time of print.

On Twitter: @NGNewsJohn

Organizations: Canadian Union of Public Employees, Department of Labour

Geographic location: Trenton

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