Fort Smith workers ratify new agreement with town

Municipal workers in Fort Smith voted Wednesday afternoon to ratify an agreement to end their two-week-long labour dispute.

Collective agreement to last three years

Union members walk the picket line in Fort Smith, N.W.T., in July. The town's municipal workers voted Wednesday afternoon to ratify an agreement and end the strike. (CBC)

Municipal workers in Fort Smith voted Wednesday afternoon to ratify a collective agreement to end their labour dispute.

Union officials said an overwhelming majority of members voted in favour of the new agreement.

Originally, the agreement was to be for two years but it was extended by a year. It will now expire Dec. 31, 2014.

The union said they got what they were looking for.

"The union was successful in reaching its primary objective from the start of this bargaining process and that was to achieve 'no contracting out' language in our collective agreement. So we're pleased that the employer agreed to this language and it now forms part of our collective agreement," said Todd Parsons with the Union.

The town said that both sides agreed to use contract workers "in exceptional circumstances" and that the union and the town will work together if such a situation occurs in the future.

The union said workers will get a 2.5 per cent wage increase for the next two years and a two per cent increase in the third year.

"We’re coming out of this with good morale as an employee unit and we hope to use that morale to better serve the people of Fort Smith in the coming months and years," said George Skippings, a town worker.

No one from the town spoke directly with CBC, but information on the town’s web site said services will resume Thursday morning.

The town's 60 employees had been on strike since July 18.