CUPE Locals 1431 and 227 reach tentative agreement with Halifax Water

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HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA–(Marketwired – July 11, 2015) – The Presidents of Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 1431 and 227 announced tonight that they had reached a tentative agreement with Halifax Water, potentially ending an 8-week lock-out.

“We will not release details publicly until we present them to our members,” CUPE local 227 President Dave Dort said. “But we will be recommending this agreement to our members. We firmly believe that this is the best deal we could achieve.”

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Letter Writing to Mayor Savage

Savage LetterWe encourage all members of the public and our supporters to write the mayor and ask him to please tell Halifax Water to get back to the bargaining table and accept the union’s proposal!

If you want to show support please download the letter below and drop off a signed copy to any CUPE Picket lines and we will send it off!

Thank you all, for the overwhelming support you have shown us!!!

Halifax Water’s failure to negotiate will extend strike, waste ratepayers dollars, to protect senior management’s pensions: CUPE

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HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA–(Marketwired – June 26, 2015) – CUPE Water and Wastewater workers Locals 227 and 1431 today said they’ll hold not just management but also Mayor Mike Savage and members of Council accountable for last night’s breakdown in negotiations.

“CUPE negotiators tabled a reasonable offer that meant tremendous sacrifices on the part of our members,” CUPE 1431 President Heather Corkum said. “Our new offer would have saved ratepayers $1.8 million in contributions, but senior managers on the employer’s negotiation team rejected it to protect their own pensions.”

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CUPE says Halifax Mayor Mike Savage made commitment, then reneged on it

The two CUPE locals representing striking Halifax Water employees say they are deeply disappointed with Mayor Mike Savage and his role in the dispute.

The two CUPE locals representing striking Halifax Water employees say they are deeply disappointed with Mayor Mike Savage and his role in the dispute.

CUPE Local 227 President Dave Dort says, “We got a face to face commitment from the mayor on Tuesday evening at council following our rally at Parade Square and we took him at his word.

“A few of us had gone into council chambers and Savage asked to meet with us in the hall. That’s when he told us he was willing to look at the union’s latest pension proposal. There were several people who heard him say this.

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Letter to a Councillor

This is an email sent by our president Heather Corkum to one of the Halifax Councillors, in response to his communication with a concerned constituent.

Dear Mr. Hendsbee,

I am the President of CUPE Local 1431 and, while I know that you may not have had much involvement in the negotiations which took place over 15 months from February of 2014 until Halifax Water locked us out on May 19, 2015, I would like to take the time to respond to you on a few things in your response to one of our members. I have copied the email (below) which one of your constituents took the time to pen to you today, along with your response to him. It is disheartening to learn, to say the least, with you being a member of the Halifax Water Board, and essentially one of the lead decision makers, that you do not fully understand the impact of what has been going on for at least the last 4 weeks.

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CUPE locals say Halifax Water misleading ratepayers on pension deficit figure

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA–(Marketwired – May 14, 2015) – With the clock now ticking toward a strike or lockout, unionized employees with Halifax Water say their employer is misleading the public and ratepayers about the size of its pension deficit.

On May 12 on News 95.7’s ‘The Sheldon MacLeod Show’, Halifax Water spokesperson James Campbell said, “We have a pension plan that in its present form is not sustainable. We have a $48M unfunded liability and we can’t afford it.”

Campbell used the same figure again on Global TV, May 13.

CUPE Pension Researcher Kevin Skerrett says, “In fact, the Commission’s own Annual Report indicates that the relevant actuarial pension deficit was actually $27 million as of January 1, 2014. The changes and benefit reductions that the union has proposed in bargaining would reduce that deficit down to a level of about $19 million.

“We are left to conclude that Mr. Campbell has chosen to refer to a different calculation of the deficit that sounds much worse but does not actually reflect funding requirements. It is nothing less than deceptive to publicly reference this $48M figure, which inflates the actual problem by more than 40%.

“Most importantly, it is not going to help us get a settlement if the employer is referencing this highly misleading accounting figure that in no way determines pension costs. This reflects badly on the employer’s credibility on the pension issue,” says Skerrett.

CUPE says it is willing to go back to the table, but at this critical point in bargaining, Halifax Water should be more interested in bargaining with its employees rather than attempting to mislead the public.

Local 227 represents 230 outside workers with Halifax Water, while Local 1431 represents 105 inside workers.

Contact Information

  • Kevin Skerrett
    CUPE Pension Specialist
    (613) 864-1590 (c)
  • John McCracken
    CUPE Communications Representative
    (902) 880-8057 (c)