Village of Granisle. (Priyanka Ketkar photo/Lakes District News)

Granisle employees vote to unionize

Joining District of Houston workers in CUPE Local 2086

Eight employees of the Village of Granisle are now members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), setting the stage for negotiations leading to a collective agreement.

They became members of CUPE Local 2086, which also represents District of Houston workers, following a BC Labour Relations Board-conducted vote on July 26 and will form their own bargaining unit with Local 2086.

“Belonging to a union and negotiating a fair contract leads to a respectful workplace,” said David Duval, president of CUPE 2086. “We welcome these municipal workers into our local and look forward to working with them to secure a first collective agreement.”

It’s the first vote CUPE has held to represent Village of Granisle workers who have not previously been represented by a union.

CUPE official Greg Taylor said all eligible workers voted and that while CUPE won’t release vote tallies, he said an “overwhelming majority voted in favour of joining CUPE.”

”CUPE will be contacting the village shortly to begin the process of reaching a first collective agreement – it’s too soon to say when they’ll get started,” he said.

“The first step in our process is to consult with the bargaining unit members. They will decide what to propose to the employer. Collective agreement can include provisions on wages, benefits, vacation and holidays, hours of work, protection from discrimination and harassment, overtime premiums, job protection, layoffs, and the right to union representation,” Taylor added.

The Granisle employees are the water/wastewater operator, machine operator, one casual worker who assists with parks, equipment, and vacation relief, two information centre workers, gardener, front office staff and bus driver.

CUPE Local 2086’s District of Houston membership numbers 20 full-time and part-time municipal workers including office workers, parks and recreation workers from the arena and leisure facility, equipment operators, mechanics, and workers at the water and wastewater plant.

The District has just added a part time machine operator and a full time person to its complement in a bid to quicken its snowclearing operations.

CUPE is the main union representing employees of local governments and school districts within B.C.

CUPE Local 2086’s latest contract with the District of Houston covers the period from January 2020 to Dec. 2023 with raises of either 1 per cent or .75 per cent taking place at six month intervals.

As of July 1, 2021 the hourly starting rate for a casual clerk is $20.97 an hour, a working foreman’s rate is $35.33 an hour and a position known as a municipal service worker II, after one year of employment, is posted at $31.83 an hour.