Contract talks between the Corporation of Delta and the union representing its civic employees are at a standstill.
"The employer walked away from the table. I'm going to contact the chief administrator in the coming days looking to get back to the table and we're very eager to get back and continue discussing the issues," said CUPE Local 454 president Darryl Robison.
The union represents more than 850 city employees. The union also represents Delta police board civilian and Delta Museum and Archives employees, but those negotiations are being held separately. Their last contract expired Jan. 1 of this year.
Trying to work toward a new collective agreement, the union last exchanged proposals with their Delta management counterparts in late June.
Robison noted that since that session no other talks have taken place.
Wages aren't the only issue that needs to be worked out.
What's turned out to be one of the most contentious is attendance management. In his latest bargaining bulletin to members, Robison noted Delta's changes to the employee attendance management policy have left members feeling confused, intimidated and harassed around the use of their sick leave.
"Each quarter, we have members who are called into meetings and asked about their sick leave and why it is so high. As if these people want to be hurt or sick. Many of them have had serious illnesses such as cancer, major injuries like broken legs or have had surgery to fix a long-standing problem. Is it fair that these people are included in these meetings?" the bulletin states.
The bulletin also notes the union isn't trying to take away management's right to monitor and manage sick leave costs, however reasonable limits are needed.
Robison noted members are coming to work sick or hurt out of "pure fear" and are also using their vacation leave instead of their sick leave.
The union hasn't taken a strike vote.
Delta chief administrative officer George Harvie told the Optimist this week he spoke with Robison on Monday and hopes to have some informal talks in midSeptember to see if things can get going again.
"We put together what we felt was a very balanced offer, very minor changes to the collective agreement. But at the end of the day, the union came back with an offer that still had just under 40 language and benefit requests," said Harvie.
"We've told them many times we were unable to move on many of those items due to their cost and that it represents a significant concession to our management rights. So we suggested we need some time out and we're setting a date for informal talks in mid-September," he said.
As far as what kind of wage increase, if any, could be on the table, Harvie noted they have not gotten to that point yet because the other issues first need to be worked out.
"We've just gone off some very good increases that were done at the time of the (2010) Olympics and we're looking for some very thin changes to our collective agreement ... I've caucused with other city managers and it seems like everybody is pretty well on the same time frame that we are on," added Harvie.
In an earlier bulletin, Robison said they heard from the employer that there is a budget squeeze, CUPE Local 454 doesn't buy it and the union continues to push for improvements.
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