On April 11, the seven outside workers with the Municipality of St. Michel ratified the tentative agreement negotiated by representatives of CUPE 5394.

“Negotiations that take place in a respectful and open-minded environment are always conducive to major progress. Beyond the gains we made, we’re quite proud of having worked with the employer to fully reinstate one of our members,” said CUPE representative Caroline Labelle.

One member in the outside workers’ group, who has been employed since 2001, has limitations and was not entitled to the same wage as his fellow workers. His status and the wage he was paid as per the collective agreement were also different. The municipality was receiving a subsidy to cover his salary, and an appendix specified that his employment relationship was conditional to the signing, each year, of a reinstatement contract agreed to by management.

Going forward, this worker will have the title of journeyman, and further to a proposal put forth by the employer, his employment will no longer hinge on a letter of agreement. He will thus be treated like all of his other colleagues. His hourly wage will rise from $15.87 to $22.50. The disclosure of this most noteworthy breakthrough at the general meeting produced a touching moment and made all of the workers feel proud.

Among the other gains called for in this new five-year agreement, workers will be getting wage hikes totalling 19%, three additional sick days, double time during statutory holidays, the recognition of two statutory holidays providing entitlements to two more days and an increased employer contribution to the group RRSP.