HURON PERTH, ON –(COMMUNITYWIRE)– After nearly three years of contract talks and still no deal, the CUPE bargaining committee at Huron Perth Public Health (HPPH) is heading into a second conciliation meeting with the employer on February 15, 2024.
“We are frustrated by how long it has taken to get a first collective agreement as a newly merged Local, and we feel disrespected by the employer,” says Pam Hanington, CUPE Local 1331 President. “We are trying to maintain as much of our predecessor collective agreements as possible and, at a time when the cost of everything has gone up, we are asking for reasonable increases to wages and benefits. The employer has yet to come to the table with a deal that we can confidently take to our members; they have failed to offer us the same wage increases that our HPPH colleagues in ONA and OPSEU received over the last three years.”
HPPH employees represented by CUPE Local 1331 have been without a contract since December 31, 2020. Bargaining with the employer began in the spring of 2021; there has been little progress over the past several months and the two sides are now in conciliation. If a deal cannot be reached, the next step is job action, according to the union. In September, 93% of members voted in favour of a strike.
“We are dedicated to our work and want to avoid a strike,” says Hanington “But we are prepared to walk off the job if the employer continues to reject the union’s proposals and does not present a fair deal.” In addition to wages and benefits, outstanding issues include hours of work, overtime, and leaves of absence such as pregnancy/parental leave.
CUPE Local 1331 was formed in July 2020 after the Locals of the former Huron County and Perth District Health Units merged. The Local currently represents more than 70 HPPH employees, including administrative assistants, custodians, dental assistants, dental hygienists, health promoters, IT support technicians, parent resource visitors, public health inspectors, and tobacco enforcement officers. They provide and support programs and services that promote and protect the health of Huron Perth residents.
Daniel Tseghay, Communications Representative, CUPE