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Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees, voted on Wednesday, July 22, to accept a new collective agreement that includes significant wage increases and other improvements in their contract.

“We are happy that we were able to secure significant gains for our members in this round of negotiations,” said Sandra Walker, president of CUPE 5167, representing RBG workers. “Over the years, our members have fallen behind in wages and were forced to accept no to minimal increase to keep the gardens afloat. For this round of contract talks, we were very focussed on rectifying this problem – the employer also recognized that this was a recurring issue and worked with us to address the wage issue for our members.”

The new five-year contract includes wage increases of 10.75 per cent over 5 years with a $1.00 hourly wage enhancement, for all workers, effective immediately. The new agreement also includes improvements in education funds for the workers, increased meal and clothing allowances and other improvements. The new contract will expire on January 15, 2020.

“In the past, there were lean years at the gardens and our members suffered economically,” continued Walker. “But, now, RBG is on a better financial footing and we are glad that workers are benefiting from that as well, as our members worked hard to ensure the success of RBG.”

“We want to thank supporters from the community and RBG patrons for helping us achieve this contract,” concluded Walker. “Our members take great pride in working for the RBG and will continue their work to tend and maintain the ecological jewel that attracts visitors from around the globe.”

In addition to representing the 33 RBG workers, CUPE 5167 also represents 4200 workers who work with the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton International Airport, DARTS (Disabled and Aged Regional Transportation System), Good Shepherd Women’s Services, and the Macassa and Wentworth Lodges.

For more information, please contact:

Sandra Walker
CUPE 5167 President

Barb Carter
CUPE National Representative

James Chai
CUPE Communications