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Mississauga News - Friday, April 28, 2000 - page 4 - #4
Unions feels move aimed to stop organizing drive
City improves benefits for non-union staff
Improved benefit package for Mississauga's non-union staff is not connected to a recent union organization drive, according to City Manager Dave O'Brien. [ 1 ]
This wasn't done because of any organizing drive, "Mississauga's top, bureaucrat said. "That has absolutely nothing to do with it at all." However, Walter Brown of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, finds the timing of the new benefit improvements curious.
The union recently Organized 63 custodians, maintenance employees and Skilled tradesmen into the first new union to be formed at the City for many. years.
Brown said his of union was in the midst trying to organize another group of municipal employees when the City provided its upgrades.
"I don't think they want any more Unionized City personnel," Brown commented. "There's no doubt we are running another (organizing) campaign," he added "We think we can organize more people." O'Brien said the improvements are the result of ongoing regular discussions he holds with employees about working conditions at the municipality. O'Brien meets twice a year with staff to listen to concerns and hear suggestions for improvement. Recent feedback, including surveys, suggested "the benefit package was not up to par," said O'Brien. While he didn't classify the upgrades as significant, the manager said a number of changes were made.
Human Resources Director Eric Draycott said the City has undertaken a review over the past year.
A survey of comparable municipalities showed Mississauga has fallen behind competing municipalities in its benefits provisions.
As a result of the review, vision care has been improved from $200 to $300 every two years, dental benefits have been upgraded by two calendar years on the schedule rather than one and the lifetime payment for major restorative dental work (including braces) has doubled to $4,000. Other improvements include enhanced chiropractic benefits, new coverage for anti-obesity and anti-smoking expenses, a new salary structure that means fewer grades but broader salary ranges and a better early retirement scheme.
Part-time recreation and parks employees, believed to be the subject of the recruitment drive, also received raises.
New hires will get $9.65 an hour instead of $8.09 while returning students will receive $10.32 instead of $8.56.
That reflects the need to attract employees in what is expected to be a tight student market this summer, O'Brien explained.
Many of the students hired last February had found other, higher-paying jobs by the time they were schedule come on board in April, noted Draycott
"The increase reflects the improvements in the economy."
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