CORRECTION: City of Nanaimo, union have not met to discuss concerns

City of Nanaimo statement responds to concerns raised about the city’s relationship with CUPE members

City of Nanaimo management staff and union representatives have not met to discuss their concerns.

According to a statement posted on the city’s website late Friday afternoon, chief administrative officer Tracy Samra, chief financial officer Victor Mema and director of human resources John Van Horne “met executive of CUPE Local 401 to discuss mutual concerns.”

But union local president Blaine Gurrie said in an e-mail that the meeting was a couple of weeks ago and related to other matters.

On Thursday, hundreds of CUPE 401 union workers boycotted a city Christmas luncheon to protest employment conditions.

Friday’s statement from the city was in response to concerns raised about the city’s relationship with CUPE members.

According to the municipality, workplace grievances aren’t any higher than usual. The statement noted that since 2011, there have been about 25 grievances per year among CUPE employees, and the past two years have remained at that average.

“The city’s managers, human resources managers and Local 401’s stewards and executive make the effort to deal with issues so they don’t get to the grievance process…” said John Van Horne, the city’s director of human resources, in the statement.

“The city manager’s role in labour relations is fairly limited,” he added. “The city manager serves an adjudicative function at the last stage of the grievance procedure and provides high-level oversight of the collective bargaining process.”

Samra said, in the statement, that “as we are entering into collective bargaining in 2018, it is important for the city to ensure there is a constructive and professional working relationship.”

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