City labor agreement: Why 2.5 years in the making?

In Saturday’s Nfld News article titled City will not fight ruling on back pay, reporter Suzi Rook wrote:

Roder declined to discuss the tenor of the negotiations or reasons why a new agreement is more than two and a half years in the making. Already this year, the city has paid its labor negotiator, Labor Relations Associates, $15,000. Much, but not all of that, is related to work on the general unit contract and arbitration. The city also paid the law firm of Kennedy and Graven for an opinion on the arbitrator’s ruling. The Northfield News was unable to obtain that figure. Almost $1,900 was paid earlier this year for Daly, the arbitrator.

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I’ve not followed this story much at all so I was surprised to read that agreement was so long in the making. (That rivals the Comp Plan!).

Other Nfld News articles:

Anyone have details/opinions about this that would help educate this woefully uninformed citizen?

One Comment

  1. Anne Bretts said:

    Lengthy negotiations are not uncommon these days. Only 12 percent of workers in the country are in unions (and most of them are in government) so there is not a lot of public understanding of union issues or sympathy with union workers.
    Today employers need concessions and unions need to protect the gains they’ve made over the years and, if possible, improve on them. Neither side wants a strike. As a result, everyone remains in a holding pattern while they try to avoid the inevitable.
    It’s a tough situation, but the alternatives (giving in and losing or striking and losing) are worse. In the private sector, so many jobs are being eliminated or sent overseas that workers don’t dare strike. You can’t off-shore snowplowing, so striking government is effective. But workers who strike get blamed for inconveniencing drivers and pushing up taxes.
    Better to stay at the table and keep talking.

    June 2, 2008

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