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Prince Albert city staff strike possibly in the cards after negotiations reach impasse |


Prince Albert, Sask., city staff say they’ve reached an impasse with the city and are potentially set to strike.

The municipal workers said they are preparing for job action, which could include a full withdrawal of services as early as Aug. 10.

“The city’s offer would leave city workers with less purchasing power at a time when everything is getting more expensive,” said Tammy Vermette, president of CUPE 882.

“Despite the rhetoric from the City of Prince Albert, this offer does not address the crushing cost-of-living and instead asks their workers to do more with less.”

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The union claims that city workers have accepted rates that have not kept pace with the rate of inflation, but that the mayor and council have seen their compensation increase by 20 per cent between 2016 and 2021.

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“The City of Prince Albert works because our members do. Asking them to accept increases below what Mayor and Council have given themselves is just not on,” said Cara Stelmaschuk, vice-president of CUPE 882.

“The City of Prince Albert needs to shelve the excuses and make an offer that addresses the crushing cost-of-living.”

Stelmaschuk said the bargaining started quite a while ago and was going well.

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“A lot of the contract was just getting cleaned up and that was going quite amiably, and then we get to the monetary discussions and that’s kind of where it really changed tone quite a bit.”

She said the first discussion was met with a package, with the bargaining team being told that was the city’s final offer, with no further discussion.

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Stelmaschuk said nobody expects these discussions to run smoothly, noting there’s always going to be a give and take, but said they’ve had a pretty good relationship with the city management.

“We kind of expected it to maybe be a little bit tense, but not contentious.”

She said attempts to negotiate were turned down, and she was surprised by how quickly they got shut down.

“We really do just want to keep talking.”

She said there were 59 full-time permanent employees, but many of the programs in the city bring in casual and part-time employees, which she guessed brought the number of CUPE 882 employees to somewhere around 160 people.

Stelmaschuk said she hopes cooler heads prevail, but said she doesn’t know what will happen, noting everything up to this point has been a surprise.

Global News has reached out to the City of Prince Albert for comment.

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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