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The exterior of Saint John City Hall is pictured in this file photo. Image: staff photo

UPDATED: Striking Saint John workers heading back to work

By Brad Perry Oct 10, 2023 | 8:03 PM

Nearly 140 clerical, administrative and support staff with the City of Saint John are going back to work.

A new collective agreement for members of CUPE Local 486 was formally approved Tuesday evening.

Common Council and the Saint John Board of Police Commissioners met separately to ratify the five-year deal.

It came one day after the city’s inside workers voted to accept the tentative deal reached last Friday.

Brittany Doyle, president of the union, said she is happy the deal was approved by the workers.

“We brought forth a tentative agreement that we could recommend to the membership, so we felt comfortable that we would be able to achieve a positive acceptance,” Doyle said in an interview Tuesday morning.

The unionized workers will see a roughly 16 per cent wage increase over the course of the deal, council was told Tuesday evening.

  • Jan. 1, 2022: 2% increase
  • July 1, 2022: 2% increase
  • Jan. 1, 2023: 2% increase
  • July 1, 2023: 2% increase
  • Jan 1, 2024: 1.6% increase, plus a one-time payment of $1,500
  • July 1, 2024: 1.6% increase
  • Jan. 1, 2025: 2.25% increase
  • Jan. 1, 2026: 2.4% increase

Eligible employees will also get a one-time payment of $750 this week, according to Stephanie Hossack, the commissioner of human resources.

Now that the collective agreement has been ratified by both sides, workers will begin returning to the office over the coming days.

For example, the city’s emergency dispatchers will return to work Tuesday evening, while other police civilian staff will go back on Wednesday, the police chief said following the police commission meeting.

“It’s going to take a little bit of work building those relationships back up, but we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to do that work collaboratively to get everybody back to work,” said Doyle.

Members of CUPE Local 486 have been off the job since Sept. 12 after voting in favour of a strike, with wages being the main sticking point.

The union represents around 140 clerical, administrative and support staff who work in several city departments, including police/fire/911 dispatch, customer service, bylaw enforcement, permitting, recreation, court services, financial services, administrative support, IT and technical roles.