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MERRITT It wasnt always easy this year to be a Merritt city worker and MusicFest reveller. At one point, city workers were poised to strike just as the one-week festival was beginning and the over 100,000 country music lovers were pouring in from all around North America. Today, the country music capital sings to a different tune that tune is one of support for the working person.

Almost one year after contract negotiations began, Merritts city workers and municipal council have finally ratified a deal. The new collective agreement includes no concessions, contract language improvements and lump sum payments equivalent to a 2.3 per cent salary increase in the second and third year of the three-year contract.

On behalf of CUPE BC, I commend Merritt city workers for standing up against incredible pressure to settle for less than any worker deserves, said Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President.

Merritts city workers, represented by CUPE local 900, were faced with a mayor, city council and administration that were bent on following Premier Gordon Campbells zero-wage-increase policy for public workers.

To overcome that pressure, Merritt city workers reached out to the public through the media and talked about the challenges at the bargaining table and a fair deal for taxpayers and city workers alike.

These negotiations were tough, but in the end we reached an agreement that was fair to everyone, said CUPE 900 president and chief negotiator Mel Hale. We look forward to continuing our work building a strong community for the people we serve the residents of Merritt.

The agreement was ratified unanimously by Merritt city council and by an 88 per cent majority vote of the CUPE 900 membership last night.

CUPE 900 represents 51 Merritt city workers. CUPE BC represents almost 25,000 municipal workers in the province.


Barry ONeill, CUPE BC President, c: (604) 916-8444
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258