Armstrong workers reach 'solid' three-year agreement



    ARMSTRONG, BC, March 29 /CNW/ - Members of CUPE 2709 and the City of
Armstrong have reached what both sides refer to as a "solid" three-year
agreement that will improve public services while offering substantial
incentives for the municipal workers who provide them.
    The new contract, approved by city council on March 12 and ratified by
the union on March 15, includes a 5.51 per cent wage increase in the first
year (2.76 per cent plus 2.75 per cent, based on a job re-evaluation),
2.75 per cent in the second year, and three per cent in the third. Casual
employees will see a two per cent increase, to 16 per cent, for in-lieu
benefits.
    "It really was a productive round of negotiations," notes CUPE
representative Tina Meadows. "It was evident that the councillors and city
administrators valued their workers and wanted to provide improvements. We're
looking forward to continued improvement with the job evaluation committee and
further growth in the community."
    "The City of Armstrong is pleased to have completed bargaining with its
CUPE employees," states city administrator Patti Ferguson. "We believe that a
fair agreement has been reached for both parties. The value to the community
of having employees committed to being well trained and knowledgeable in the
services they are very involved in providing is recognized in the agreement."
    The new contract provides improvements in training, vacation and benefit
entitlements; increases the options for eyeglass and hearing aid provisions,
as well as the monthly maximum for long-term disability; and establishes a new
employee assistance program. Under the contract, the retirement benefit
includes one month's payout for long service with maximum sick credits. There
are also increases for dirty pay and boot allowance.
    Under the letter of understanding, a joint job evaluation committee has
been established, along with two new positions for outside workers (equipment
operator and labourer).
    The nine Armstrong workers form the second group that is part of the
co-ordinated bargaining effort of CUPE 2709, which includes approximately 30
workers. The others work for the Township of Spallumcheen (contract completed)
and the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Parks and Rec Commission (bargaining to begin
in April).
    The last contract expired on December 31, 2006.




For further information:

For further information: Tina Meadows, CUPE Representative: (604)
802-6341; Patti Ferguson, City Administrator, Armstrong: (250) 546-3023

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