Nfld. & Labrador

CUPE gets 8, 4, 4, and 4

The union representing 4,200 provincial employees announced late Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement with the N.L. government.

The union representing 4,200 provincial employees announced late Thursday it has reached a tentative agreement with the N.L. government, in a deal that Premier Danny Williams said will be the template for other public sector contracts.

Williams said the government and CUPE have reached a tentative agreement  that will give the union's 4,200 members a 20 per cent raise.

"A four-year deal which is eight in the first year, four in the second year, four in the third year and four in the fourth year," he said.

The wage package is a gain for the union since it was an increase of five per cent over the government's initial offer. Talks began in November.

CUPE president Wayne Lucas said negotiations went well and he is urging his members, who include health-care and school board workers such as janitors and support staff, to accept the deal.

"Each and every meeting we had was respectful, and dignity was shown to each other and ah, you know, we had tough negotiations but we achieved a deal and that's what we're pleased with," he said.

CUPE becomes the first union to reach a tentative agreement in this round of talks. Since the province and most unions have insisted that everyone gets the same, Williams said this will be the salary template for the other contracts when they get done.

A ratification vote will take place over the next few weeks.