Augusta Township reaches collective agreement with its unionized and non-unionized employees

Augusta Township reaches collective agreement with its unionized and non-unionized employees

Augusta Matters by Mayor Doug Malanka

On July 8th, 2019, Augusta Township ratified a three-year collective agreement (2019-2021) with OPSEU Local 94.  Specifically, Council authorized the CAO/Treasurer and Mayor to sign the collective agreement and related letters of understanding between the OPSEU Local 94 and the Corporation of the Township of Augusta and the Augusta Township Public Library Board, for the period from January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2021.  The resolution also authorized the CAO/Treasurer to make necessary current and retroactive adjustments to staff compensation in accordance with the new collective agreement.  The significant changes ratified in the collective agreement include an across the board rate increases to all job categories which will have approximately the following annualized impact: 2019 – $0.65 – $11,946; 2020 – $0.51 – $9,373; and 2021 – $0.52 – $9,557.  The agreement also includes a change from employees paying 30% of benefits to the employer paying 100% of benefits.  At present, most public sector governments and municipalities in Leeds and Grenville continue to pay employee Health and Life insurance premiums at 100% and the previous requirement that employees pay 30% has made it more difficult to attract new employees and has been cited by employees as one of the reason for leaving the Township during their exit interview.  Losing staff is costly for the Township as new employees have to be trained and it can take time for them to come to full productivity.  With the current mix of staff, this change will cost the employer approximately $15,090 per year subject to the mix of family and single coverage of staff.

Another provision in the approved collective agreement increases the days Public Works’ employees can take off in lieu of direct compensation for being on call during the winter plowing season from 5 to potentially 7, subject to weather conditions and manager’s discretion.  Unless overtime is incurred to cover the employee when they take the time off in lieu, there will be no direct financial impact.  An increase in the part time percentage in lieu of benefits from 4% to 6% will increase costs by approximately $390 per year.  Finally, other administrative changes throughout the Bylaw should have minimal to no cost impacts and are considered housekeeping amendments.  The collective agreement increases exceed the 2019 Budget estimates of 2.3% and will be partially offset by prorating and staff vacancies.

At its regular meeting of Council held on July 15th, 2019, Council adopted By-law 3432-2019 to establish employment and personnel policies for non-unionized employees of the township of Augusta.  The By-law makes the employer responsible for paying 100% of benefits for non-unionized employees and authorizes an across the board rate increases to management and non-union staff having the following approximate compounding impacts: 2019 – $0.65 – $8,870; 2020 – $0.51 – $6,960; and 2021 – $0.52 – $7,098.  The change from employees paying 30% of benefits to the Employer paying 100% of benefits will cost the employer approximately $12,716 per year subject to the mix of family and single coverage of staff.  The By-law extends provisions of the recently settled union collective agreement to our non-unionized employees to promote positive labour relations and maintain pay equity between all employee groups.  These increases exceed the 2019 Budget but will be partially offset by prorating and staff vacancies.  Other administrative changes throughout the Bylaw should have minimal to no cost impacts and are considered housekeeping amendments.