FREDERICTON – After two years of bargaining, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 2745, representing the New Brunswick education support staff, ratified a new collective agreement this weekend.
“This has been a very challenging round of negotiations,” said Sandy Harding, president of CUPE 2745.
“We were able to improve important articles in our collective agreement. All Teacher Assistants will work a minimum of thirty (30) hours a week by the end of the collective agreement. Teacher Assistants have also been reclassified as Educational Assistants as they are at the national level.”
“Even though we have increased the hours of work of all Educational Assistants to a minimum of thirty (30) hours a week, most of them still will not qualify for the full-time defined benefit pension plan which requires 31 hours.”
“Unfortunately, this government did not live up to all of the commitments it made to us during the last election campaign but has committed to do so in our next collective agreement. We are still the lowest paid in the country with an average salary of $17,000 a year. We fully intend to make the government accountable for those promises in our next round of negotiations that are less than two years away,” added Harding.
“We strongly hope this agreement will enhance cooperation between the Department of Education and our members. We have come a long way in this collective agreement to gain more respect and fairness from our employer and we will continue to work to achieve our goal.”
CUPE Local 2745 represents more than 3,200 Educational Assistants, School and District Office Administrative Assistants and School Library Workers, as well as School Intervention Workers and Bus Attendants.
The new collective agreement expires in 2013.