NORTH VANCOUVER – CUPE 389 members who work for the District of North Vancouver have ratified a new three-year collective agreement. The agreement is a significant step forward in addressing both affordability challenges workers face and recruitment and retention issues.
“We believe that a well-supported workforce translates into superior services for our residents, and creates stability for local businesses,” said CUPE 389 President Yvette Mercier. “We’re confident this new agreement helps ease the financial pressures workers are facing while also ensuring residents continue to receive the quality public services they count on.”
The three-year deal provides wage increases of 3 percent in 2022, 4.5 percent in 2023 and 4 percent in 2024. It also includes a one-time, 4.5 percent inflationary support payment applied on 2022 wages.
Other key improvements include full coverage of dental and extended health premiums and an increase to mental health paramedical coverage.
“CUPE 389 members are proud to provide services to residents, businesses, and visitors. We look forward to continuing to work with the District to cultivate a positive and progressive work environment, address recruitment and retention challenges, and elevate the quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors alike,” adds Mercier.
CUPE Local 389 is a composite local that represents approximately 2,600 workers on the North Shore, including workers at the North Vancouver School District #44, District of North Vancouver, City of North Vancouver, District and City Libraries, North Vancouver Recreation Commission, Northlands Golf Course, Northshore Neighbourhood House, the Village of Lions Bay, and the North Vancouver Museum and Archives.
CUPE 389 – City of North Vancouver Bargaining Update
August 28, 2023
Your bargaining team met with the City of North Vancouver for a full day of negotiations on August 24, 2023 and we are pleased to report that it was a very productive day of negotiations.
The City will no longer be using Metro Vancouver’s Regional Employers Services (RES) 360 for bargaining – this means that moving forward we will be negotiating directly with the City of North Vancouver.
At our last bargaining date, we were able to engage in meaningful discussion with the employer and the committee feels we are making good progress towards addressing your key bargaining priorities.
We have four additional bargaining dates scheduled in the first half of September. We’re optimistic that this will allow us to gain some momentum at the bargaining table and get us closer to reaching a tentative agreement.
We have another brief update on bargaining for City of North Vancouver members.
Your bargaining committee met with the City of North Vancouver on July 21st for another full day of discussions.
Our talks continue to be positive. Your bargaining committee is pleased to report we are making steady progress on our priority issues. We are optimistic that the Employer appears committed to working collaboratively towards a fair deal.
We have another bargaining session scheduled for August 29th – please watch for another update shortly after.
CUPE 104 president says B.C. dispatch centres are understaffed by an average of 43 per cent.
The union representing RCMP emergency dispatchers across the country says there’s an acute shortage of staff in British Columbia, which could worsen crisis responses.
Most emergency calls in the westernmost province are handled by the non-profit organization E-Comm, which is funded by multiple Lower Mainland municipalities. Emergency dispatchers there have complained of significant staff shortages and overwork over the last year.
However, for some of the most remote communities in the province — including most of the north and the Interior — the RCMP handles dispatch operations.
According to Kathleen Hippern, the president of CUPE Local 104, which represents RCMP dispatchers, B.C. RCMP call centres are understaffed by an average of 43 per cent.
In this case, Hippern is calling on the national RCMP leadership and the Treasury Board, which manages the public service’s wages, to get vacancies filled faster.
The Treasury Board deferred to the RCMP when asked for a response. The RCMP says it is “working diligently” to address the issue.
“A number of initiatives have been undertaken in the divisions to increase the number of trained 911 dispatchers in their jurisdictions,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “For example … in British Columbia, the RCMP started a new hiring event called ‘Coffee with a Dispatcher.'”
The event highlighted by the RCMP in B.C. involves an emergency dispatcher sitting down with interested applicants at a coffee shop and taking questions about the role.
The spokesperson said that, nationally, from January to November 2022, there was a 38.67 per cent vacancy rate among dispatchers. However, they said that 20 per cent of those were considered “soft” or temporary vacancies.
“These leave categories include medical leave, maternity and paternity leave, education or language training, etc.,” they said. “Typically, soft vacancies are not factored into vacancy reporting as the value fluctuates over time.”
Hippern said that she has been working as a dispatcher since 2006 and that the “snowball” of short-staffing has been accelerating over the last decade.
The union president says that dispatchers in remote communities are particularly stretched during crisis situations like wildfires — calls that she says that can’t be handled effectively when centres are that understaffed.
“I know that Prince George has been affected in the past with fires in 2017, 2018,” Hippern said. “They got the job done [then], but it wasn’t easy.
Hippern says that dispatch centres were no longer the “employer of choice,” especially for younger people who are put off by the idea of working evenings, weekends and holidays.
She also says the RCMP should pay dispatchers more for the work they do and that the wages being offered are not competitive with the rest of the public sector.
The annual starting salary for an RCMP dispatcher in B.C. is $51,673.
CUPE 104 is currently negotiating its first collective agreement with the RCMP. Talks have been underway since 2021, according to the force.
“The RCMP shares and supports the Government of Canada’s commitment to reaching an agreement with RCMP 911 dispatchers that is fair to employees and reasonable to Canadians,” an RCMP spokesperson said in a statement.