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Employees ratify new collective agreement with Wood Buffalo Housing

PHOTO. CUPE 1505 members picket outside the municipal building on May 14, 2019. Nathalia Cordeau-Hilliard/REPORTER.

The CUPE 2019 convention wrapped up Friday, Oct. 11, 2019.

Held in Montreal, the five-day convention saw plenty of discussions, speeches and debate from over 2200 delegates.

Those delegates “left no stone unturned” when creating a plan for the next two years.

New deal

Closer at home, CUPE 1505 has been busy for nearly six months trying to negotiate to get employees back to work with Wood Buffalo Housing.

On Oct. 7, CUPE 1505 President Judy Collier reported a potential settlement for WBH’s 46 locked out workers.

She said members held a vote on Oct. 16.

“Yesterday, we had the ratification vote on the mediator’s recommendation and it has been accepted by the membership.”

Collier added they were able to secure some gains in the new agreement.

“More days off for the members returning to work, as well as the Alberta Employment Standards Leaves [were] added to the collective agreement, and the severance package [offered] to members, whose positions were being eliminated, has also increased from when we were first at the table.”

Going forward, she said the new normal will start with Wood Buffalo Housing.

“Many of our members will go back to work doing the work that they love: Helping the residents that live in Wood Buffalo Housing and serving our community.”

Though it’s not a “100 per cent win”, Judy Collier thanked the members of CUPE 1505 for their efforts during the lockout.

“Lockouts and strikes are very challenging, and I’m very proud of our members for [their] strength, courage, and determination. Although we didn’t win it all, we did make gains and we’re moving forward with that.”

CUPE 1505 members return to work on Oct. 23, 2019.