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14 Wing Greenwood hands cleaning contracts back to unionized workers

Stock image of a mop on a tile floor.
After pressure from the unions representing contract workers on two Canadian military bases, cleaning contracts won't be taken away from them after all. - 123RF Stock Photo

The Department of National Defence has halted plans to contract out cleaning jobs at 14 Wing Greenwood and CFB Kingston after pressure from the unions that represent the employees.

In August, The Chronicle Herald reported that seven term-contract, unionized cleaners at 14 Wing Greenwood were notified that as of Sept. 30 their jobs would be terminated before their term positions could have rolled into full-time jobs.

Instead, the government had planned to contract out their jobs to a private company. The remaining 25 full-time cleaners would have had positions replaced by contractors when they retire or leave the base, as would 186 unionized cleaners at CFB Kingston in Ontario.

At the time, Colleen Coffey, Atlantic Canada executive vice-president with PSAC, said the move represented a worrying trend of contracting out these sorts of services.

A public awareness campaign, a letter-writing campaign and several rallies in support of the workers followed.

On Thursday, Union of National Defence Employees (UNDE) and Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) announced that DND had shelved its plans has committed to creating a new process for future reviews and the janitorial staff would remain employed.

“We are glad to see that the government is living up to its commitment to public service workers following a major anti-privatization campaign by PSAC,” said UNDE national president June Winger.

“These are good jobs with a pension and benefits that allow workers to contribute to their communities and provide stability for their families. It is also important to note that our military personnel and others who live and work on those bases will continue to receive the high-quality service they deserve.”

The unions are calling on government to ensure union representation in the planning process for CFB facilities maintenance.

“If we’ve learned one thing from the errors made with the Phoenix pay system, it’s that those making the decisions need to listen to those providing the service,” Winger said.

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