A group of support workers who have been on strike on Newfoundland's Burin Peninsula for 13 months shouted with joy Wednesday night as they unanimously voted to accept a deal brokered just hours earlier.
Striker Mary Brushett said the influence of former premier Danny Williams kept government away from the bargaining table until talks started earlier this week.
"Because I think they were afraid of Danny to speak out. I mean, he was just like someone standing over them with a whip," Brushett told CBC News.
The 14 women, who work with developmentally delayed adults in the Burin and Marystown area, said they were relieved that an end is now in sight for a strike against the Burin-Marystown Community Training Employment Board.
A tentative deal was reached soon after Premier Kathy Dunderdale asked Treasury Board to contact the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, which represents the workers.
Until this week, government refused to acknowledge it had a role in halting a strike that started in November 2009. Instead, government had argued that it was not the direct employer.
At the end of the deal, workers will receive $14.25 per hour.
Finance Minister Tom Marshall said Wednesday that Dunderdale gave government the "flexibility to sit down" and meet with NAPE, which has consistently said that the strike could be settled for fairly little money.
Worker Marion Fitzpatrick said the deal falls short of all the strikers' goals, but is nonetheless welcome.
"We'd prefer if we could have gotten the classification, but I guess it's like everything. Some times you gotta give - you gotta give and take," she said.
NAPE president Carol Furlong would not comment on whether she thought Williams was the hurdle to a deal in settling the strike.
"Premier Dunderdale understood what was going on and what the issues were," said Furlong, who added a misunderstanding at government prevented a deal from being reached.