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(Halifax) – CUPE outside workers with the Halifax Regional Municipality have overwhelmingly given the thumbs up to a new union contract.

The members of Local 108 voted 94% in favour of the four-year deal which had already been ratified by HRM Council.  This was the first time in recent memory a deal has been reached without the services of a Conciliation Officer from Nova Scotia Labour and Workforce Development.

Local 108 President Dave Carr says, “After seven months of bargaining, I have to say there was a high degree of professionalism on both sides of the table.  Discussions were respectful at all times and we have established a rapport with this employer that will hopefully translate into continued positive labour relations into the future.”

Carr says the union met its primary objectives for this round of bargaining, especially with respect to benefits.  “Obviously, judging by the vote, the members are very pleased with the new benefits language and the economic increases.”

Highlights of the agreement include:

• Four year term, November 01, 2008 to October 31, 2012
• Wage increases of 3%, 2%, 2% and 2% with full retroactivity to Nov. 01, 2008
• Duty to accommodate language respecting the accommodation of disabled employees
• Benefits Plan improvements including a 50% cost-share with the employer and a reduction in premiums, while maintaining almost the same level of coverage as existing benefits
• Banked time off in lieu of overtime increased from 40 hours to 80 hours

Local 108 represents approximately 450 outside workers with the Halifax Regional Municipality.