Members of CUPE Local 9-01 have strongly approved a new three-year contract. At a ratification meeting this week, members voted 85% to approve the new deal. Although management decided to use a labour relations consultant, the negotiation process was described as respectful.
The new contract will see all classifications receive a 40 cent per hour raise in each of the three years (2018, 2019 and 2020). In agreeing to the pay increases, both sides felt that any wage increases should be based on an hourly rate.
“Many of our members are working for very low wages,” says Stacey Landin, President of Local 9-01. “If we fought for a wage increase based on percentage, many of our members would not have received much of an increase at all. This new contract ensures that over the next three years, every one of our members will see more money for their families.”
In addition to pay increases, some important issues were addressed, including start date seniority and workplace safety.
“Most of our members are women, and many of them work alone in rural libraries or in large urban libraries with very few staff,” Landin says. “We have been fighting for workplace safety protections over the course of several rounds of negotiations. I’m so happy for our members that we were finally able to get them.”
The issues of workplace safety were also expanded to include a domestic violence component.
“In many cases of domestic violence, the abused do not have the financial resources to escape their violent relationship,” according to Landin. “That’s why it’s so important that our members will now be supported and protected.”
The final longstanding issue that has been resolved is that of seniority. Many library workers are referred to as “Call-ins”. These are employees who receive shifts by phoning in to book hours based on availability. This has often been a disadvantage for longtime employees who must work more than one job just to survive.
“After many years, those workers who have been with their employer for many years will no longer have to compete for shifts with newer staff who have less experience, but more availability,” explained Landin.
In voting for the agreement, Local 9-01 members will be able to go forward with increased financial security in a safer work environment, and with a renewed sense of fairness.
“I am so proud of the whole team that was able to get this contract for our members,” says President Landin. “The future now looks a bit brighter for our members who work extremely hard, provide an important public service, and take a special pride in providing that service.”
Nineteen rural libraries and the Moose Jaw Public Library fall under the umbrella of the Palliser Regional Library.