CUPE 3495, representing a range of workers who provide peer support, education, counselling, social work, and fundraising services, and QMUNITY, B.C.’s queer, trans, and two-spirit resource centre, have ratified a new collective agreement that includes wage increases, various improvements to benefits, and other contract language.

The new collective agreement, retroactive to January 1, 2020 and running until March 31, 2023, includes wage matching to comparable classifications in the Community Social Services provincial agreement, applied to all three steps of each classification. It also includes a general wage increase of 3 per cent in the final year of the agreement.

The contract includes benefit improvements for bereavement and compassionate care leave, increases for parental leave, and an agreement to establish a joint review process for introducing an affordable pension plan by June 30, 2021.

The previous collective agreement expired on December 31, 2019. On August 20, the CUPE 3495 bargaining committee presented the union’s proposals to QMUNITY. The parties were able to secure a tentative agreement after just two more days of negotiations.

“We are pleased that our collective interests came together in a process that was constructive, respectful and quick. Our agreement gives QMUNITY stability and ensures consistency with the larger community social services sector,” said QMUNITY Interim Executive Director Tim Agg.

CUPE 3495 Bargaining Committee member Jeylan Bishop said the Local was “extremely pleased” with the respectful and positive communication from QMUNITY at the bargaining table.

“We believe that the work of our members is valued through the terms of this agreement,” said Bishop. “The new contract also reflects a shared desire by both parties to address recruitment and retention challenges now and in the future.”