Union workers at Metro Vancouver Regional District will see pay increases between three and 4.5 per cent during their recently ratified three-year term, according to information released by the regional government’s board.
Workers had been working under old terms since Jan. 1, 2022 and the new contract is retroactive from then and lasts until Dec. 31, 2024.
For 2022, workers with the Greater Vancouver Regional District Employees’ Union will receive a three per cent pay increase and then a 4.5 per cent increase this year. Next year, wages increase by four per cent, for a combined uncompounded increase of 11.5 percentage points.
The negotiations occurred in step with other agreements reached with local municipalities, union president Jesse Medeiros told Glacier Media.
As such, workers were also granted a one-time, so-called "inflationary support payment" of 4.5 per cent of their salary.
“Our agreement is similar to the improvements other municipality members have reached with their outside workers, and the municipalities are the ones who agree if they will pay the increases,” Medeiros said, when asked if the agreement represents wage depreciation.
The consumer price index for Jan. 1, 2022 was 5.1 per cent; on Jan. 1, 2023, it was 5.9 per cent and to October it was 3.1 per cent while trending downward.
On Jan. 1, 2021, the union realized wage growth when its old contract stipulated a two per cent increase when inflation fell to one per cent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Medeiros noted that the union realized “increases to health benefits and allowances that reduces costs to workers in the long run.”
Medeiros said there are anywhere from 620 to 700 members of the union depending on staffing levels. Medeiros did not disclose the number of members who voted but said 85 per cent voted in favour of the agreement.
The union notes Metro Vancouver workers provide the public with fundamental services including: watershed management and security, water distribution water treatment and disinfection, wastewater collection and treatment, affordable housing, regional parks and air quality monitoring.