Another union, another wage freeze for 2017

By Leah Murray
August 8, 2017 - 9:49pm Updated: August 9, 2017 - 7:04pm


MEDICINE HAT, AB — The City of Medicine Hat has and Local Union 254 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers have ratified two new bargaining agreements.

The union represents employees within the city’s electric generation and water treatment plants along with those who work in electric distribution.

The new agreement will see a three percent retroactive wage increase for 2016 as the previous contract expired in December of 2015.

Along with all other unions the city has bargained with so far this year the union is also taking a zero per cent wage increase for 2017.

Councillor Robert Dumanowski says unions and employees here are showing leadership not seen anywhere else in the province during this downturn.

“This is unprecedented as I understand in the province,” he said. “It’s also unprecedented that we have other unions that have come forward and have led the pathway to today’s agreement.”

The union joins CUPE and the Firefighters Association in taking no raise this year.

Mayor Ted Clugston said it’s a sign of how aware this community is of the trying financial times everyone and every municipality in the province has been experiencing.

“All of them have a neighbour that has probably had some trouble. perhaps their neighbour has lost their job in oil and gas over the last couple years, or their house is for sale or foreclosed on,” Clugston explained. “It’s really difficult if you live in a community that you care about and love to ask your neighbour to pay more in property tax or utilities so that you can have a raise.”

While there is a freeze for this year there will be a two percent wage increase for 2018 and 2019.

The city is still in negotiations with the Medicine Hat Police Association on their new contract.

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