City and firefighters’ union head to arbitration

Provincially-appointed conciliator issues “no board” report

Guelph, ON, June 26, 2015 – Last night the City and the union representing Guelph’s 165 firefighters—the Guelph Professional Firefighters’ Association (GPFFA)—received a “no board” report from the Ministry of Labour conciliator.

The report states the conciliator is unable to reach a negotiated agreement between the City and the GPFFA. The next step is to move forward through the interest arbitration process to reach a resolution.

“Council is disappointed that a freely negotiated contract was not reached,” said Mayor Cam Guthrie. “Council’s mandate was clear, and we felt the mandate was fair to both firefighters and taxpayers. We cannot accept the current proposals from the GPFFA under any circumstances.”

The GPFFA’s proposals include benefits exceeding those in all eight of the City’s other employee groups’ agreements. The cost of these benefits is unaffordable. Wages have not yet been discussed.

“While it is always the City’s hope to freely negotiate a collective agreement, we are not in a position to consider terms that are unaffordable for this community and unfair to other employee groups,” said the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ann Pappert. “As a result, negotiations on a variety of costly matters are at an impasse and the arbitration process is a last resort to move negotiations on these matters forward.”

To reach an agreement through arbitration, the City and the GPFFA will present evidence to an arbitration board, and the board will issue a binding decision.

The arbitration schedule has not been established, and the City’s bargaining team remains available to meet with the GFPPA to reach a mutually agreeable contract.

Negotiation updates and information about the interest arbitration are posted at guelph.ca/gpffa

For more information

Mark Amorosi, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer
Corporate Services
519-822-1260 extension 2281
mark.amorosi@guelph.ca