Lifeguards Are Being Treated Unfairly
City of Hamilton Lifeguards are in a state of despair. In 2008 many workers for the City of Hamilton became part of the Union CUPE Local 5167. During the time, every group of workers completed a Job Evaluation (JE) which outlined our responsibilities and was supposed to issue us a much needed raise in our wages. However, lifeguards were looked at last (when it came to these raises) and as a result, City of Hamilton Management did not have enough in the budget to give a fair raise to the lifeguards. Their solution is to drop our hours by placing our supervisors in lower positions giving them our jobs. Since they are on salary and were already part of the union, their wages cannot be touched, therefore they can be placed at our level for their former pay. Arena supervisors will be opening our pools since they are also on salary. Basically, the City of Hamilton Management is taking duties away from the lifeguards to drop our hours and force us to a new job description which will need a new Job Evaluation.
CUPE Local 5167 has not seen the Lifeguards JE because Management has been trying to figure out ways to prevent lifeguards from getting a raise.
We as lifeguards put our lives on the line while we guard since a drowning victim will do anything to survive; if we enter a pool to rescue someone we are entering immediate danger. We must risk the possibility of an unsuccessful rescue which in many cases causes distress and depression. We must keep our National Lifeguard Service qualification up to date every two years, paying out of our pockets, our first aid and CPR every year as well as several other qualifications to instruct children and adults on how to Swim to Survive. We also must purchase our own uniforms that constantly need to be replaced from the harshness of chlorine chemicals on them and we are not given adequate time to rinse said chlorine off our uniforms or bodies. We currently feel as we have been deprived of a wage and need to speak out.
Other jobs within the City of Hamilton offer much higher wages for far less previous experience, education and personal responsibilities. All we are asking if to be paid on par with other lifeguards within the Province and Country at which we are the lowest paid.
In 2002 when the City of Hamilton amalgamated with the Township of Ancaster, the Township of Dundas and the City of Stoney Creek, and Hamilton lifeguards’ wages were dropped from about $13 an hour to $10.75 an hour and has not reached that former wage since.
Management has begun to start these new changes under the table so that when the lifeguards discover it, hopefully it will be too late. The news of the changes was leaked and has spread and this letter is to help spread the word to you, the public.
We enjoy interacting with the public, the friendships we have made and the potential room there used to be to grow and learn within our job categories. If this is taken away we cannot say that our job will have the same sparkle it once had. Please speak up for your local lifeguards and call your Ward’s Councillor. And check hamiltonlifeguards.wordpress.com and http://www.twitter.com/hamiltonguards for more updates
Disclaimer: this is all word of mouth.