Council asked to approve increases to Staff wages

The collective bargaining agreements between the Town of Cobourg and CUPE expired on December 31, 2021 and new agreements were reached on the 2nd of June 2022.  The agreement is for a 9% increase spread over 3 years at 3% per year with an effective date of January 1, 2022.   In addition benefits will go up 2%.  Council have no doubt been discussing this in their many closed door sessions so this will not be news.  I expect that they will therefore approve the increases at their CoW Council meeting on July 11.  In addition, non-union wages will increase by the same amount “to ensure that internal equity is maintained across positions and workgroups”.  The financial impact is significant but it seems that the current budget anticipated this increase although the motion before council does not specify what the dollar budget impact is.

Summary of Changes

Although the new full agreement has not been published, some highlights have been provided.


The settlement is for a three (3) year contract with increases as follows:

  • January 1, 2022 3%
  • January 1, 2023 3%
  • January 1, 2024 3%

Also other increases:

  • Meal allowance
  • Shift premiums
  • Extended health benefits: Hearing aids, Chiropractic care, Psychotherapist, Psychologist or Counsellor


  • Updated language in regards to gender preferences, grammatical changes, postings, shift schedules, and correction of position titles and general terms.
  • Movement of vacation time to a calendar year.
  • Increase of vacation to four (4) weeks after six (6) years of service.
  • Timelines for schedules and shift changes.
  • Sick time and wellness support.

No further details are provided and the new agreement is not available – maybe because Council has not yet approved it?  See Resources below for the superseded agreement.

These changes will also apply to non-union and management salaries but I believe Police and Firefighters are separate.


Report on Cobourg News Blog about previous contract agreement


At the Committee of the Whole (CoW) Council meeting on 11 July, there was considerable debate about tying the non-union staff increase to the union increase.  But in the end, the motion tying the two together as described above was approved.

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Two cents worth
10 July 2022 9:53 am

Let’s let the employees of Cobourg have a decent living wage…remember if you pay peanuts you get monkeys…

Reply to  Two cents worth
10 July 2022 10:24 am

Our Councilors are more generous giving away our money than other communities and we must have have much better monkeys than Barrie whose CUPE Union just settled for the following:

1.8 per cent (July 1, 2022); 2 per cent (Jan. 1, 2023); 2 per cent (Jan 1, 2024); and 2 per cent (Jan. 1, 2025). 

Kidding aside–once a contract is ratified watch out for ‘re-organizations’; job re-classifications & pay equity adjustments. Those union wage adjustments are contributing reasons we had 3 people on the Sunshine list in 2012 and now we have 58….

Reply to  Dunkirk
10 July 2022 10:32 am

Of those 58 people that were on the sunshine list last year, not one employee is from the CUPE contract that we are discussing.
All 58 are either police officers, firefighters or non union staff.
Maybe you should direct your disdain towards them?

Reply to  Leweez
10 July 2022 11:43 am

Leweez—what I am saying is that CUPE contract or not, there are additional ways that all public servants can use to increase their wages. Yes–it’s pretty standard that our Protection Services ask for 8%+ budget increases every year(the majority to wages); our Councilors have Cost-of-living…..our CAO just did a $1mm ‘re-organization'(how many pay decreases resulted from that?)
unionized or not….it all comes from the same place….and they are approving each other’s…..

Reply to  Dunkirk
10 July 2022 12:22 pm

What I noticed from the CAO’s reorganization was the hiring of more managers who are non union employees.
Did she hire more union staff that I missed?

Reply to  Dunkirk
10 July 2022 4:37 pm

Have you any idea the number employees that leave for better pay at other municipalities?

Reply to  Informed
10 July 2022 4:54 pm

There must be departures due to Salary, the newly hired Economic Development Manager is re-advertised, the planning Manager still isn’t hired and is on its second go around of advertising, I haven’t seen the Engineering Assistant Manager announced as hired yet so it does feel like to me that we aren’t very competitive with say Durham and surrounding areas or even the smaller municipality of Port Hope. Their CAO makes almost 20k more than ours and it appears most of their managers and directors make more than Cobourg.

Last edited 4 months ago by Concerned
Reply to  Concerned
10 July 2022 7:55 pm

I think you’re right.

10 July 2022 9:31 am

Raise your children and their children to work in Govt office – one of very few businesses to still have a Union. Even if they turn out to be non-performing slackers, they will still reap the same benefits as those that work hard. On the other hand, jobs do keep the economy going.
Like my mum used to say, “Unions are a necessary Evil in life”.

Last edited 4 months ago by Kathleen
Merle Gingrich
Reply to  Kathleen
10 July 2022 9:40 am

Kathleen, I born and raised as a Mennonite and 70 years ago if you joined a union you were kicked out of the church, I can appreciate their wisdom, although it may not apply today. Unions are an evil but not necessary.

Reply to  Kathleen
10 July 2022 10:29 am

Unions exist in many companies and industries other than in Government. These unions fought to protect workers from being taken advantage of as far as wages and benefits. They also helped bring in many health and Safety initiatives that employers ignored many years ago. Unions were also necessary to ensure people could make a decent standard of living working 5 days a week instead of 7.

Reply to  Informed
10 July 2022 11:31 am

I don’t disagree. If you’re lucky enough to work for a Union, you’ll reap all the benefits – even if you don’t perform as well as others. In Private industry, you can get fired much more easily than if you are in a Union. In some cases this is a good thing. And in some cases it isn’t.

Reply to  Kathleen
10 July 2022 4:33 pm

I dont much believe in luck. I like to think many people set goals…work towards hard and are employed in their chosen field, if fortunate. Some are unionized and some are not. Unionized or not ‘, all have their pros and cons.

Cobourg taxpayer
9 July 2022 10:04 pm

I believe there are a few staff members who have earned a salary increase but I have called city hall a few times in the last year and no one answers the phone, I’ve left messages and no one calls back. Apparently everyone is still working from home? Most do not deserve this increase. Additionally staff work a 35 hour week, most in the private sector work a 40 hour. If you work a 35 hour week your pay should reflect that. Town staff positions are very secure why the need for wellness support and is the sick time mentioned increasing, if so to what. I remember the engineering department asking for increased staff as 30% were sick at any given time. Seems the public servants are a very sickly bunch. The multiple town of Cobourg trucks I see driving around, are doing exactly that, driving around. I’d like to see more working.

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
10 July 2022 8:28 pm

As I understand it, the engineering department only has 3 employees.
If 30% of them are off, that would amount to 1 person.

Reply to  Drew
11 July 2022 1:06 pm

Cobourg taxpayer wrote, “30% were sick at any given time.” To me that means anytime, or all times, 30% were sick. Every day 1 of the 3 employees would be sick. That is 80 of 240 working days (52 weeks – 2 weeks statutory and 2 weeks other holidays) per employee. Every working day only 2 of the 3 would be working. That seems like a lot of sick time to me but maybe I misunderstand.

Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Kevin
11 July 2022 4:31 pm

That is correct that is what I heard at the budget meeting and I was shocked. the head of the department said she had 10 employees beneath her and 30% were sick at any given time. See reply above for details.

Last edited 4 months ago by Cobourg taxpayer
Cobourg taxpayer
Reply to  Drew
11 July 2022 4:30 pm

At a town council budget meeting a few years the head of a department said she had 10 employees beneath her, that on any given day 30% were off sick leaving her with roughly 7 employees, that the department had not hired new employees in a few years therefore she needed more employees. The town of Cobourg organizational chart has been reworked and added to a great deal since then so it is highly unlikely there are fewer employees or even fewer sickly employees. Departments have been added too, renamed etc. Laurie Wills should remember the layout of the department and the comment made. Another example of public servants illness is St Mary’s Catholic HS in Cobourg, on any given day roughly 30% are off sick. The number of Town of Cobourg police officers sick on any given day is high as well.

Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
11 July 2022 5:40 pm

Ms. Wills is the director of public works.
That includes engineering, roads and sewers and several other office staff.
You said the engineering department had 30% sick. My statement is based on your original assertion about that department.

9 July 2022 7:41 pm

Well, that was good of our council members to hold municipal workers to a 3% wage increase while they, themselves, quietly accept a 6.91% COLA increase.

9 July 2022 2:42 pm

I can’t wait for the taxfighter’s reactions to this one!!

Wally Keeler
Reply to  ben
9 July 2022 3:07 pm

Never mind them, what is your reaction?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
9 July 2022 5:00 pm

earned and deserved Wally, all workers have lost wages due to inflation over the many past years, now is the time to catch up!

Merle Gingrich
Reply to  ben
10 July 2022 8:56 am

Ben, how about we tax payers, who’s going to catch us up on inflation?

Reply to  Merle Gingrich
10 July 2022 9:24 am

I asked a similar question a few weeks back
some body responded that all our OAS, CPP ODSP etc etc
were indexed increases May be if you can find them they are so small
but nothing like this and no other benefits

Reply to  Sandpiper
10 July 2022 5:01 pm

Wait until you see the indexation rate for this year being someone who receives two separate federal indexation pensions it is going to be over 4 almost 5 per cent if not more depending on what happens with inflation for June Jul and August.

Last edited 4 months ago by Concerned
Reply to  ben
10 July 2022 4:35 pm

Doesnt ” catching up” contribute to more inflation?

Reply to  ben
10 July 2022 9:20 am

What Tax fighters
most have died off or gone full retirement
No new younger people or new residents have stepped up
Same goes for the Homeless issue plenty of deligations for them
but next to No Taxpayers appeared other than on this site