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QUESNEL, B.C.Municipal workers in Quesnel are going to work this week with a new collective agreement.

Quesnel City Council endorsed the agreement at a special meeting on Saturday, while the 120 municipal workers, members of CUPE Local 1050, ratified the agreement at a membership meeting on November 7.

The agreement contains a compromise on the contentious letter of understanding, which scuttled a previous settlement reached with the assistance of a mediator.

The union agreed to include the letter in exchange for improvements in employees’ benefits. Starting next year, the employer will pay 95% of employees’ benefit premiums, up from the current rate of 90%.

“It’s a fair compromise and a good deal,” says CUPE staff representative Bernie Schneider. “Members wanted to achieve a settlement that reflected the regional pattern and we’ve done that,” he stated, noting members will receive a 7% wage increase over three years.

City Manager Charles Hamilton also expressed satisfaction with the agreement. “We’re pleased we were able to resolve our differences at the bargaining table and reach an agreement that meets the needs of both the city and our workforce.”

The membership had voted to support strike action, if necessary, to achieve a fair settlement.

Schneider said, “members are happy and relieved” to have a settlement in place, adding the tone at the union meeting was very positive.

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Bernie Schneider CUPE National Representative: (250) 565-8983