A strike vote could be in the cards as Delta's unionized civic workers are to meet today to decide their next course of action.
Representatives from CUPE Local 454 met with their civic management counterparts last Thursday in another round of collective bargaining, a meeting union president Darryl Robison said didn't end well.
"The employers pulled back and advised us that they will be seeking further direction from (Delta) council and would like to possibly get back at the table in mid-December. It is frustrating," said Robison.
The union represents more than 850 civic employees. It also represents civilians at the Delta Police Department and Delta Museum and Archives employees, although those negotiations are being held separately.
Delta's unionized workforce has been without a contract since the end of 2011. Delta is negotiating directly with its employees after leaving the Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau.
Ken Kuntz, Delta's director of parks, recreation and culture, said not a lot of progress was made at last week's meeting.
"We're looking forward to getting back to the table in mid-December," he said, adding Delta management would be available for negotiations throughout the holiday season.
"There's more discussion to be had," he said.
Kuntz said the Corporation of Delta is not asking for any con-cessions from the union and is looking at a settlement similar to what has been reached in other municipalities.
As far as wages and benefits, Robison said CUPE proposed a four-year term with "minor benefit improvements" but said management didn't seem interested.
He said the union is also seeking a wage increase of around two per cent annually over the course of the contract, which he said is around the provincial average.
He pointed to the recent agreement reached between New Westminster and CUPE Local 387, as well as Vancouver's deal with CUPE Local 15, both four-year contracts that provide 6.75 per cent wage increases.
"There were some offsets. The locals settled on some language issues in those two municipalities to offset those wage increases, so they achieved some things that were important to them rather than focusing on wages," Robison said.
"We also advised them (Delta) we're willing to come down to those numbers but we wouldn't accept less than those wage settlements in those other areas," he said.
Members will have a special meeting today to discuss how the local could proceed. Deciding that a strike vote should be held is one possibility.
"We're looking at all our options right now, including filing for mediation. They may give us approval to seek a strike vote if that's what they think is warranted," Robison said.
"I said it to the employer and I'll say it to you, I think we're close to achieving a deal. I feel we could have achieved an agreement had the employer been willing to talk about some of these issues. They don't seem willing to talk about some of the issues that are important to our members."
One of the key issues for CUPE has been attendance management. According to the union, amendments the Corporation of Delta made to its attendance management policy in the last few years has resulted in confusion and feelings of intimidation around the use of sick leave.