Members of CUPE 4869 and the employer, South East Cornerstone Public School Division in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, have ratified a new two-year collective agreement. Negotiations took place in the context of the provincial government’s mandated 3.5 per cent wage rollback and employer proposals of zero per cent wage increases.

The two-year agreement includes a lump sum payment of 1 per cent for 2016 and a wage increase of 1 per cent for 2017. Further gains in the agreement include an additional day for family illness, increased use of personal days, and new language addressing violence in the work place as well as expanded occupational health and safety language and better layoff provisions. Total monetary increases are estimated to be +3.32 per cent over two years.

“In spite of the government’s wage mandate, we were able to reject concessions and bargain forward for our members,” says Local 4869 President Jeannie Taylor. “Both sides were very respectful throughout negotiations and we had a productive round of bargaining. Considering the circumstances, we are proud of the deal we presented to the membership.”

Almost 4,600 of the 7,000 CUPE education support workers across Saskatchewan have open collective agreements and are currently in bargaining or will be at the negotiating table in 2018. CUPE represents educational assistants, caretakers, administrative and library assistants, bus drivers, and many other classifications.

“CUPE has a national policy against concessions. We held our ground and benefited from a respectful negotiating party across the table,” says CUPE National Representative Don Moran.