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Trois-Rivir0065s, Wednesday, May 2, 2001 - After more than a year of bargaining, the City of Bc0061ncour and its 70 outside and inside workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE-QFL), have come to an agreement. Municipal officers and union representatives are meeting this morning (Wednesday, May 2) to sign the new collective agreement which will be in force until 2003. Thanks to this new contract, the Bc0061ncour workers will benefit from salary raises of 8.75% over a four-year period (from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2003).

Great progress has been made with this agreement, exclaimed the President of CUPE 1677, Mrs. Carole Gauthier. Over and above the salary raises, interesting gains were made, notably those regarding early retirement and seasonal workers. Almost nonexistent in the previous collective agreement, early retirement has become attainable at 55 years of age and it is accompanied by one full year of salary, and this will apply to seasonal workers as well. Moreover, the CUPE President emphasized that, thanks to this new contract, seasonal workers will benefit from better income insurance coverage (in case of illness). From now on, the insurance will be in effect for 12 months, even if the annual work period for seasonal workers generally lasts for only eight months.

Mr. Alain Richard, the CUPE union representative, believes that, by putting the working conditions of the seasonal workers and the annual workers on the same footing, this agreement represents an interesting step against the precariousness of jobs in the municipal sector.

CUPE represents about 70% (25,000 members in the municipal sector) of all the municipal employees in Quebec. With more than 100,000 members in 11 sectors of activity, CUPE is also the largest affiliate of the QFL.

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Mr. Alain Richard, (819) 375-7855, ext. 224