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City, CUPE ratify deal

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 401 and the City of Campbell River ratified a collective agreement Tuesday night.

The new contract includes a five per cent wage increase for CUPE employees over four years.

CUPE city workers had been without a contract since 2009 but on Monday night the union voted to ratify a tentative agreement struck by both parties on Oct. 25. The following day, city council did the same.

“We are pleased to announce that CUPE and the city have reached a four-year contract agreement,” Mayor Charlie Cornfield announced at Tuesday’s council meeting. “It’s been a lengthy process.”

Both sides had been at the negotiating table with mediator Debbie Cameron since September and in late August CUPE voted 88.3 per cent in favour of strike action, although strike notice was never filed.

The new contract is retroactive to Jan., 1. 2010 and expires on Dec. 31. 2013. The increase in wages for CUPE totals $413,750 for 188 employees – 118 full time employees, 30 part time and 40 auxiliary. For 2010, CUPE workers will not receive any wage increase but in 2011 they will receive a 2.5 per cent increase. In 2012 union employees will get a 1.25 per cent increase in pay and finally, in 2013 a 1.25 per cent increase.

The city said the agreement also includes four minor increases related to stand-by pay, premium pay for working in a confined space with sewage, meal tickets and footwear allowance which totals $8,900 annually.

Cornfield said Tuesday night he is pleased to see negotiations come to an end.

“We appreciate the patience and professionalism of our employees as we worked through this process,” Cornfield said. “We look forward to a welcome fresh start and ... a bright future together.”

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