New CUPE contract in place at Strait board

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PORT HASTINGS — A new collective agreement for 408 support staff in the Strait Regional School Board's education system took effect on Thursday.

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School board and CUPE officials signed the three-year contract during a ceremony at St. Mary’s Education Centre/Academy in Sherbrooke on Thursday.

CUPE Local 955 in the Strait region represents support staff positions including school secretaries, bus drivers, janitors, mechanics, maintenance staff, building operators, library technicians and teacher assistants.

The term of the contract is April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2015.        

Major cost items, including wages and the contract term, contained in the agreement were negotiated provincially. Members of CUPE Local 955 will see 2 per cent, 2.5 per cent and 3.0 per cent annual increases in wages during the term of the agreement with economic adjustments retroactive to April 1, 2012.

Those employed as tradespersons will see a 50-cent per hour further increase on Oct. 1, 2013, and April 1, 2014. The new contract also includes changes to bereavement leave and advanced notice of layoff.

Board chair Mary Jess MacDonald said the board is pleased with the outcome and thanks the bargaining teams for their leadership and commitment during the negotiations.

"It took many meetings and many months of bargaining in good faith in order to reach a successful conclusion to our negotiations," she said in a news releae. "With this agreement, our students will continue to receive excellent support from a highly skilled and dedicated workforce."        

CUPE local 955 president Wilfridine Crowdis said the union is pleased to have an agreement in place and acknowledges the significant endorsement of the agreement by the membership.

“We look forward to continuing our work with both the school and regional administration to support and serve the educational needs of students in the Strait region,” she said.

Summarizing the effects of the new collective agreement on the Strait region's education system, superintendent Ford Rice said the three-year agreement means continuing stability in the provision of support services to students.

"Our employees are our greatest resource, and this contract is evidence of the dedication of the province, the Strait Regional School Board and CUPE staff to working together to find solutions that are fair to all concerned," he said.

Organizations: CUPE Local 955, Strait board, Education Centre/Academy in Sherbrooke on Thursday.CUPE Local Strait Regional School Board

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