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Workers vote down City of Edmonton’s latest collective agreement offer

City of Edmonton workers have voted overwhelmingly against their employer’s latest proposed contract, deepening the bargaining stalemate between the city and Civic Service Union 52.

Last month, the city applied to the Alberta Labour Relations Board for an employer proposal vote, allowing workers to vote directly on what the city called its “best and final” offer.

Voting took place Monday through Thursday. The union made the results public Friday afternoon.

Most eligible members — 87.6 per cent — voted against the city’s proposal, CSU 52 president Lanny Chudyk said in a statement. The union said 87.5 per cent of eligible members voted.

“This outcome sends a clear and powerful message: there is a significant misalignment between the employer and its employees,” Chudyk said. 

The City of Edmonton is carefully considering its next steps, acting chief people officer Cindil Taylor said in a separate statement Friday.

“We’re disappointed with the outcome of the employer proposal vote,” Taylor said. “We put forward an offer that is compelling even in light of our current financial realities.

“Our primary outcome remains to reach a balanced agreement for CSU 52 members, the city and for taxpayers.”

CSU represents about 5,000 people who work throughout the City of Edmonton and various municipal agencies, such as the Edmonton Police Service. The union represents some Edmonton Public Library staff, too, but they are represented in a separate collective agreement.

The employees affected by the ongoing negotiations have not had a wage increase since 2018 and have worked without a contract since December 2020, when the previous agreement expired.

The city’s latest proposal, touted as its “best and final offer,” included a 7.25-per cent wage increase from 2021 through 2025, as well as items such as a commitment to hybrid work.

Chudyk said Friday that the union has presented the city with its own “fair and reasonable proposal” but that it’s up to the city now to avoid a strike.

Both parties have previously said they want to avoid a work stoppage, and echoed those sentiments again Friday.

More than 90 per cent of CSU members — those at the heart of current bargaining, as well as library staff — voted in favour of a strike mandate last month.

“The employer is well aware of what is required to conclude these negotiations positively and avoid a strike,” Chudyk said.

The union’s next steps will be guided by the city’s “willingness to revisit their stance,” he said.

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