Our employer has recently shared their… interesting… views about bargaining. They refer to AUPE as if we are a separate business or a third-party, as opposed to what we really are: a group of workers who stand together to improve their working conditions.
Your elected bargaining team takes direction from you. We work for your benefit and propose improvements based on your feedback, like your responses to our bargaining survey.
The employer wants a long term, 6 year contract. They only offered a .92% wage increase in the first year of the contract. For the next five years, they offered something called COLA. When we asked exactly what “COLA” is and how wage increases would be calculated, they ducked the question. The employer claims to be “transparent,” but they don’t walk the walk at the bargaining table.
What we do know is that COLA is based on the contract increases EMCON receives from the provincial government. We also know that there are costs are deducted from that amount before it’s shared with employees. When we asked Emcon to show us how COLA was calculated, they refused. We then asked them to show us how it works in British Columbia, where Emcon has an 8 year contract with a COLA. Again, they refused. This is part of the information we are seeking with our complaint to the Alberta Labour Relations Board.
As far as money goes, we are also trying to improve the safety equipment we are required to wear while at work. It’s absurd that we are asked to pay the costs for the safety equipment that is required for our work. We’re trying to close the gap and have Emcon fully fund all safety equipment.
We are working on vehicles in the open cold in the winter without a shop. We are buying both winter and summer boots to work on bridges. We have to keep buying boots because of damage from tar and asphalt. Right now, that’s all out of their own pockets and Emcon wants to keep it that way.
We also want to improve the amount we can claim for our cell phone usage, which is essential to our work but isn’t compensated by Emcon. They claim they don’t require us to use our cells, but by all reports they certainly do require it! To add insult to injury, we’ve heard of members working in places with no cell coverage who weren’t even provided radios as is required. This is another improvement we want to see through bargaining.
Solidarity with our injured brothers
On December 16, a vehicle struck two of our Emcon brothers who were performing pothole repairs on highway 16. An ambulance rushed one member to hospital, and a STARS helicopter ambulance airlifted the other member to a different hospital. A third member was also at the worksite, but thankfully escaped any injuries.
On behalf of our AUPE family across the province, we offer our support and solidarity to our union brothers. They are in our thoughts and wish them a swift recovery.
Regardless of the factors that led to this workplace accident, we expect Emcon to pursue a robust and reinvigorated focus on worksite safety moving forward. As of now, we know that Emcon has stopped all pothole related work until further notice. Every worker deserves to make it home safely at the end of their shift.
Please keep our brothers in your thoughts. We are grateful for your support and solidarity.
Petition in support of bargaining
Don’t forget to sign the bargaining petition! You can download the petition here.
Our goal is for 75% of all members to sign the petition, and only then will we present the petition to Emcon. If the petition hasn't been circulated at your shop yet, please download it and print it for your worksite.
Please send any completed petitions to your staff organizer Trevor Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org 780-919-9975, before Christmas if possible!
Emcon Bargaining Teams
Brad Guhle email@example.com or 780-678-4044
Bernie Quinn firstname.lastname@example.org or 780-207-0597
Mike Brouwer email@example.com
Eugene Thuroo firstname.lastname@example.org
AUPE Support Staff
Jason Rattray, Negotiator – email@example.com
Trevor Zimmerman, Organizer – firstname.lastname@example.org
Alexander Delorme, Communications – email@example.com