An overwhelming majority (97%) of the approximately 1000 members of CUPE 1294, the union representing UQAM employees, have voted in favour of the tentative agreement presented to them on May 29.

“I knew our members would be satisfied with the gains these talks produced. We managed to address several of their concerns by dealing with several aspects of their working life. Negotiations that take place in a positive and constructive setting always produce an agreement where the members and the employer can benefit,” declared CUPE 1294 President François Laplante-Lévesque.

The parties came to terms on an eight-year collective agreement that runs from June 1, 2023 to May 31, 2031, which includes wage hikes of 2.8% in 2024, 2.6% in 2025, 3.5% in 2027, and for 2028 and 2031, 2.5% for each year or the corresponding figure in  the government’s wage policy, whichever is higher.

One of the major concerns members had going into these negotiations dealt with the working conditions of special status personnel. Many breakthroughs were made in this agreement, which ended up resolving may of these sticking points: paid vacations, improvements to group insurance, carryovers of unused sick leave and wage standardization. These represented major gains on issues that had been outstanding demands for quite some time.

Other significant progress was made for the membership in this new contract, particularly with respect to scheduling flexibility, overtime increases and premiums, and recognition of in-person work. This means that employees who do not telework will be entitled to a four-day work week or an annual lump-sum of $500. In addition, the working conditions of postdoctoral interns, who have now been included in the union’s accreditation, will be covered in the collective agreement for the very first time.

Now that the text has been finalized, the agreement will be presented to the UQAM Board of Directors next June 20, and the parties are planning to sign it on June 21, 2024.