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Woolwich’s unionized rec. staff see pay boost with market adjustment

Nine unionized workers with Woolwich’s recreation department are getting a raise retroactive to Jan. 1, 2013, the result of a market rate adjustment. The new deal ironed out behind closed doors was ratified by council Tuesday night.
The increase amounts to about one per cent annually for the term of the current collective bargaining agreement, which runs through 2015. The raise is in addition to the yearly 1.5 per cent cost-of-living increase. The adjustment, calculated following a comparison to similar-sized municipalities, was agreed to during those contract negotiations, said chief administrative officer David Brenneman.
During talks that led to a three-year contract with members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 1542, both sides agreed to engage consultants to look at where Woolwich’s pay rates stood in comparison to other municipalities, he explained.
“We agreed that we would go through a job reclassification process,” he said in a later interview.
The review found that facility attendants should get a three per cent raise, while the lead hands were due an increase of 1.08 per cent. Taking into account the economic times and the ability to pay, the two sides agreed to phase-in the increase over three years, said Brenneman.
With the new increase, facility attendants will earn $22.48 to $23.61 an hour this year, rising to $23.05-$24.20 in 2015. Lead hands will be paid an hourly rate of $25.48 this year and $25.95 next. On top of that, there’s a shift premium of $1.35 per hour, which will remain unchanged for the remainder of the contract.
Director of finance Richard Petherick said the increase will mean a payout of an additional $5,000 for 2013, $9,800 for 2014 and $13,600 next year. Room was built into the budget to accommodate the market rate review.
“We have sufficient capacity to take the expense.”

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