Union, City of Prince Albert set to meet with mediator on Wednesday

CUPE 882 workers picket outside of Prince Albert City Hall on Sept. 11, 2023. – Herald file photo

UPDATED: This story has been update to add comments from the City of Prince Albert.

The provincial government has appointed a mediator to help end a labour dispute between CUPE 882 and the City of Prince Albert.

According to a news release from the union, the minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety has appointed Kristin Anderson, who’s the executive director of Labour Relations and Mediation.

A meeting with Anderson is set to take place on Wednesday.

“We are hopeful that with Ms. Anderson’s support, we can have a productive bargaining meeting with the employer and resolve this dispute in a timely matter,” said CUPE 882 national representative, Mira Lewis.

The union wrote a letter requesting a mediator late last week and received a response on Friday.

“We have made it very clear to the conciliator that our position remains the same. We have our entire mandate on the table,” said the City’s HR Manager Kevin Yates.

“We have no ability to enhance the mandate in any way, but we are prepared, as we always have been, to meet with the union if they are prepared to discuss a settlement within the 11.5 per cent to reach an agreement.”

In a news release last week, the City said the union’s latest offer prioritized vacation and premium pay, while sticking to the 12 per cent proposed wage increase over four years.

The City says it can’t put a higher offer on the table because of its responsibility to taxpayers.

“I don’t see how this meeting will change anything, but we are always hopeful,” said Yates.

“We would like to have the employees return to work. We respect our employees, but we also respect their right to strike to try to change the mandate.”

CUPE 882’s strike resulted in a withdrawal of services at City Hall, the EA Rawlinson Centre for the Arts, Frank Dunn Pool, Alfred Jenkins Field House and the Arts Centre. Members have been picketing at the various facilities since Sept. 11.