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Union representing educational support staff reaches deal with Saskatoon school division

CUPE Local 8443 says it has ratified a new collective agreement with the Saskatoon Public Schools division.
CUPE Local 8443 says it has ratified a new collective agreement with the Saskatoon Public Schools division. Davie Hinshaw/The Charlotte Observer / The Canadian Press/AP

A union that represents educational support staff says it has ratified a new collective agreement with the Saskatoon Public Schools division.

Over 450 members of CUPE Local 8443 recently cast ballots, with 67 per cent voting in favour of a proposal for a new contract. Union members had been without a contract since Sept. 1, 2016.

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CUPE Local 8443 president Scott Barrett said he was pleased to reach a deal that saw modest wage increases for the members.

The new four-year deal means wage increases of 0.5 per cent, 1.5 per cent and two per cent.

It also includes other monetary improvements such as enhancements to vacation increments, uniform allowance for nutritional workers and an increase in boot allowance for maintenance workers. All items will be fully retroactive where applicable.

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Barrett said that out of all the improvements made in the collective agreement, the union is especially proud that casual and temporary employees will now accrue seniority.

“This is a huge step forward for precarious workers,” Barrett said in a press release.

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“Previously, casual and temporary employees would only have seniority retroactively applied if they landed a permanent job, but now they can use their seniority for bidding purposes as well.”

CUPE Local 8443 represents 1,025 members, including educational assistants, library technicians, administrative assistants and secretaries, cafeteria and nutrition workers, caretakers and maintenance workers as well as IT workers.