Unionized Environment/Collective Agreements

The Regional Municipality of Durham is a unionized work environment, which includes several union locals representing a cross section of employees. The working relationship between these unions, and management, is important. As such, we strive to work together to create a positive work environment with a sustained, productive and engaged workforce.


A collective agreement is a document that outlines parameters for unionized staff members. It includes details, such as salary information, working conditions, benefits, process for filling vacancies, settling disputes (called the grievance process), and other important information.

Collective agreements have a defined duration/time period. Therefore, when the current collective agreement is expiring, representatives from both the management team and the union undertake preparations to negotiate a new document. This new agreement includes an updated duration/time period, which outlines how long the document will remain in effect.

Depending on the complexity of the collective agreement, preparation for these bargaining and contract negotiations can take several weeks to several months. When an agreement is achieved, both the employer and the union membership are provided an opportunity to review the agreement. After this, they vote to either accept or reject it.

The Regional Municipality of Durham, and its various bargaining units, have successfully negotiated many acceptable collective agreements. In fact, there have been very few labour disruptions as a result of collective bargaining.

What does a unionized work environment mean if you are the successful candidate for a unionized position?

A standard clause in many labour union contracts is the collection of dues–also known as “dues check-off.” This means the employer assumes responsibility for deducting labour union dues from their employees' pay checks and forwarding the amount to the union.

Paying union dues is just one of the parameters outlined within collective agreements. Accepting a union position means that you are responsible for following these parameters. To ensure all new employees are aware of the details–including salary information, working conditions, benefits, process for filling vacancies, settling disputes (called the grievance process), etc.–a copy of the appropriate collective agreement is provided to each union employee. New employees are provided with orientation and guidance in understanding the unionized work environment through a variety of methods, including but not limited to discussion with the direct Supervisor, introduction to union representatives and human resources personnel.

You can also find out more about unions in Canada by visiting the Canadian Labour Congress website at:

Our collective agreements are as follows: