Akwesasne teachers ratify first tentative agreement with Mohawk Council

    AKWESASNE, QC, June 24 /CNW Telbec/ - Teachers in Akwesasne represented
by PSAC ratified a first tentative agreement with the Mohawk Council of
Akwesasne on Wednesday June 24, 2009. The agreement will expire August 31,
2011. It provides Akwesasne teachers with improvements to workplace rights,
working conditions, and salaries, including:

    - A new pay grid with a bargaining unit average increase of 6.8 per cent
      depending on recognized qualifications and years of experience.
    - A base salary increase for all members of 2.5 per cent and 1.25 per
      cent in 2009 and 2010.
    - Hiring preference given to members of Aboriginal communities.
    - Two days paid or unpaid leave for cultural and religious holidays.
    - Seniority provisions for job postings, layoff and recall.
    - Internal candidates considered before consideration of external
      applicants for any external job postings.
    - Two union members on job transfer committee to ensure union
      representation and transparency.
    - Strong grievance and arbitration language.
    - Substantial discrimination and harassment language, including specific
      language on sexual harassment.
    - The creation of a Joint Consultation Committee.
    - Ten days bereavement leave for immediate family.

    PSAC represents 75 elementary teachers and education assistants employed
by the Council. The teachers work at schools in Quebec and Ontario.
Negotiations between PSAC and the Council began in August 2008.
    According to Gerry Halabecki, PSAC Regional Executive Vice-President for
Ontario, this collective agreement is another example of PSAC's ability to
successfully negotiate collective agreements for members of First Nations.
    "PSAC negotiating teams have the skills to negotiate contract language
that honours the culture, customs and traditions of First Nations people, said
Halabecki. He added that PSAC members are proud of the work their union has
done in solidarity with Aboriginal Peoples.

    In 2003 the union established a national network of its First Nations,
Inuit and Métis members and was the first union in the country to have a
national conference solely for Aboriginal members. The National Aboriginal
Peoples' Network works to raise issues of concern to Aboriginal workers and
communities both in and outside the union. The Network also encourages
Aboriginal Peoples to take leadership roles in all aspects of the union and
advance their rights in the broader community.

For further information:

For further information: Gerry Halabecki, PSAC REVP Ontario, (416)
485-3558, ext 231

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