The MUN Students’ Union and members of CUPE 4554 at Memorial University of Newfoundland have ratified a new four-year collective agreement.

The agreement includes important improvements to language, pay and benefits for workers. A new fertility treatment clause provides time off and financial support for employees seeking treatment. The lack of fertility services in the province presently renders such treatment inaccessible for most residents. An expanded gender transition policy streamlines the process of changing identity documents and strengthens workplace supports for safety and privacy in transition, while also providing financial supports for transitioning employees.

The agreement also includes expanded mental health leave provisions and statutory holiday substitution clauses. National Indigenous Peoples’ Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are recognized with workplace closures; employees are encouraged to engage in Indigenous solidarity, educational or support initiatives. Both parties also agreed to equity initiatives designed to support international students and other job applicants with temporary or precarious status seeking employment.

The agreement includes a Cost-of-Living Adjustment clause to ensure wages keep pace with inflation, in addition to 4 percent salary increases for each of the four years of the agreement.

“This agreement offers an important model for other workplaces seeking to ensure their policies and practices keep pace with the times,” said CUPE 4554 President Rhea Rollmann. “Workers across the province are feeling the pain of an economic crisis and skyrocketing prices that are rooted in corporate greed. It is imperative that employers guarantee the working conditions we all deserve.”

“CUPE members at MUNSU have shown tremendous leadership in this round of bargaining,” said CUPE NL President Sherry Hillier. “These workers see their collective agreement as a place where they can advance equity goals while making meaningful workplace improvements for all. That’s the kind of forward-thinking approach we need in labour relations in this province.”

MUNSU Executive Director of External Affairs, John Harris, shares “MUNSU understands the vital need for unionized workplaces that protect and uplift the workers who build and grow our community. We are proud to support our CUPE 4554 staff and to have collaborated on this collective agreement. Unions are at the forefront of improving working conditions and in this time of unprecedented inflation, students and workers are united in the call for fair compensation and safe working conditions for all.”