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University support workers ratify new contract

Vancouver Island University has inked a four-year agreement with its support staff.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 1858, which represents about 300 support staff at the university, including food services, maintenance and clerical workers, informed the university this week that members ratified the four-year collective agreement that covers the period from July 1, 2010 to June 20, 2014.

Support worker job action shut down the university for two days in November and the union also shut down the facilities department for three days the following week.

“The commitment, professionalism and solidarity shown by our members through the fall was the key to moving this challenging bargaining process forward,” said Deborah Hopper, president of CUPE Local 1858, in a press release.

The new contract includes no wage increases in the first two years and four one-per cent raises in the final two years, as well as increases to vision coverage and other improvements.

“This agreement provides a fair wage increase and other improvements for our support staff employees, while also ensuring our budget remains balanced and prudent,” said Ralph Nilson, VIU president, in a press release.

In other labour relations news, the university is now bargaining with the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union Local 702, which represents faculty teaching in vocational, developmental and applied programs.

VIU has also held preliminary discussions with the VIU Faculty Association, which represents faculty in academic and career programs, as well as technical staff such as counsellors and librarians.

For more information, or for regular updates on negotiations, please visit www.viu.ca/labourupdate.

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