New contract agreement reached with Community Living Manitoulin

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

MINDEMOYA—A new contract agreement has been reached by Community Living Manitoulin (CLM) and its employees, the latter represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“A new agreement has been ratified—the union had met February 9 and by a majority voted ratified the new agreement,” said Marguerite Hayes, executive director of CLM. She pointed out the board accepted and ratified the agreement last Saturday.

“The agreement is with all our (CUPE) employees on Manitoulin Island,” said Ms. Hayes. “The new contract is for a three-year term, retroactive to April 1, 2011, and will run until March 31, 2014. The previous contract had ended as of March, 2011, and union negotiations had started last May and picked up again in the late summer and fall.”

“The ministry (of Community and Social Services) had been asking us, as well as all Community Living agencies in the province, to be cautious in negotiations and had directed agencies that there would be no new funds available for 2011 or 2012 and no guarantee for the third year,” Ms. Hayes told the Recorder. “We had been told that any wage increases would have to be within the agency budget.”

The CUPE members had been asking for a two-and-a-half percent wage increase in the third year of the contract, “but we were able to break it down over two dates for increases,” said Ms. Hayes. The employees will receive a zero percent increase in salary in 2011 and a one-half percent increase in October, 2012. In April 2013, they will receive a further 1.5 percent increase and another one percent boost as of October 2013.

As well, “effective January 1, 2014, the employees will receive a one percent increase in their pension plan,” said Ms. Hayes. She also noted in the second year of the agreement there will be a slight increase in the employees benefit package.

Ms. Hayes said the negotiations on the new contract, “were challenging, but it was a very respectful negotiating round. Both parties worked hard to try and work by the directives of the ministry and in some way recognize no increases at all (in salary) would be very difficult for staff.”