A union representing 5,000 City of Edmonton employees is in a stalemate with the City after demanding an end to its five-year wage freeze.
Civil Service Union 52 president Lanny Chudyk says its unfair for his workers to keep taking zeroes, especially after the city manager got a three per cent wage increase last year and city councillors were granted 2.4-per cent hikes in April after a two-year freeze.
“If the highest paid employee is worth a three-per cent increase, what about the lowest paid employees? I mean, where’s the fairness and equity?” Chudyk says.
CSU 52, which includes Edmonton Public Library workers, 911 dispatchers, clerical staff, EPCOR and numerous other employee groups — held a rally outside City Hall last week.
The union’s contractual agreement expired at the end of 2021 and negotiations didn’t start until late summer 2022. Since then, he says, meetings have been taking place for half-days, every two or three weeks, with little movement, and he’s getting frustrated by the slow progress.
“It’s been a grind,” Chudyk says.
The union hired a public relations firm to spread its message ahead of last week’s rally.
CSU includes a wide range of employees who don’t fit into other, more specific unions, and Chudyk says many are in positions dominated by women and newcomers to Canada, who are “significantly” behind in pay.
“I look at my comms people, my 911 dispatchers over at Edmonton Police Service. They’re running about 30 per cent behind similar work areas in major comparable municipalities in Canada,” he says.