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The 1200 members of CUPE 1418 have voted overwhelmingly to accept a tentative agreement, ending a four-week strike that paralyzed a wide range of social services throughout New Brunswick.

“Our members have finally been treated with the respect they deserve,” says local president Anne Hogan. “We got what our members wanted – an across the board wage increase and concrete measures to address recruitment and retention.

“There is no way that we would have achieved these goals if our membership had not stood strong through four very difficult weeks.”

The new contract hikes wages by 12.5 per cent over four years for all members and an additional 4.8 per cent for social workers – the group for whom recruitment and retention has become the key issue.

Since the strike began September 4, members have mobilized across the province, staging a series of sit-ins at the offices of MLAs and gathering for a mass rally in Fredericton September 28.

“There is no question that the tremendous show of strength we displayed last Saturday helped to turn up the heat,” says Hogan. “Our members were awesome. More than a thousand people taking to the streets to stand up for their rights – it was a tremendous show of solidarity.”

CUPE members from across the province, as well as National President Judy Darcy, participated in the rally.