The union representing Winnipeg’s fire service personnel has filed for binding arbitration after its contract expired on Dec. 26, but the two sides will continue to negotiate a new deal.
“I can’t go into the details of negotiations, but I can say that we’re still meeting and we’re hopeful to still trying to get a deal, but ultimately the arbitration process will be set up,” said United Fire Fighters president Alex Forrest.
A missed deadline last October by the City of Winnipeg may have an effect on how negotiations and the arbitration may conclude.
The mistake effectively meant the city could not put any offers — for wages, benefits and other issues — on the table, leaving only the union’s proposals up for negotiation.
Coun. Kevin Klein called the city’s failure to meet the deadline more evidence of “deep-rooted problems” in the civil service.
“The city is now trying to negotiate a contract but they don’t have anything to stand on because they missed the deadline,” Klein said. “[The city] has given the union four aces and we have deuces.”
A spokesperson for the city says a bargaining protocol is in place which limits comment, but did suggest there is a chance for a new contract without arbitration.
“The city continues to bargain in good faith, with bargaining dates booked for January and February, and is hopeful that a negotiated collective agreement will be reached with the UFFW,” wrote the spokesperson in an email.
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