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EDMONTON – The staff of Operation Friendship Seniors Society, members of CUPE 474, approved a new two year contract yesterday by a majority of the members.

The workers at Operation Friendship have a new and improved collective agreement,” says Doug Luellman, President of CUPE 474.

The agreement includes major wage increases for all staff with the largest increases going to the lowest paid staff.

We bargained from the bottom up to get the best deal for all the workers,” says Luellman. “The new starting wage is $12 an hour, up to a two dollar increase for casual and newly hired workers. On average all the staff increased their wages over the two years by $2. We also reduced a grid step which overall increased wages across the board by up to 3%. And we included a wage re-opener clause as the economy in Alberta is booming.”

There are also increased shift differentials, a car allowance and time in lieu for overtime. There were also improvements in sick time and bereavement leave.

There is a new seniority provision for casual workers, which is a CUPE Local 474 standard for all its bargaining units says Luellman.

We are pleased we were able to conclude bargaining before the end of the month when the old Collective Agreement expires,” says Luellman. We believe that this will help in attracting new and retaining existing employees for the employer.

CUPE Local 474 is a component union representing custodial workers with Edmonton Public Schools and Black Gold School District and all support staff with the Salvation Army and Operation Friendship Seniors Society.