Public employees union approves agreement with University

Queen’s custodians, technicians and maintenance workers will stay at their posts, following approval of the tentative agreement between three Queen’s locals of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) and Queen’s administration.

CUPE and the University came to a tentative agreement after eight months of negotiations on Aug. 15. Members from the three CUPE locals voted Thursday to ratify the agreement.

CUPE representative Donna Carlaw said more than 90 per cent of voters were in favour of the agreement.

“I was surprised that there was that high an acceptance rate,” she said, “but I think that members were looking at that fact that in these economic times, the University was able to give them [pay] increases in all four years.” The four-year agreement includes across the board annual wage increases.

“The annual salary increases did come close to what we had been asking for,” said Donna Carlaw, national representative for the three locals. “We were able to accept what they gave us.”

The agreement also includes gradual increases to employee pension contributions, which Carlaw said members now feel secure with their future retirement plans.

“It makes us believe that at least we’re retaining the pension that we had,” she said.

Principal Daniel Woolf said it’s a good sign that a majority of CUPE membership voted to support the agreement.

“I think it’s a major step forward for the University community particularly with regards to the employee pension plan, which we have to make more sustainable,” he said.

University Administration also has a tentative agreement in place with the Queen’s University Faculty Association (QUFA), but that agreement still requires approval from QUFA membership and the University Board of Trustees before it can come into effect. Parties will meet to vote on the agreement next week.

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