McMaster University Workers Approve New Deal

October 1, 2009, 1:43 PM EST

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CAW members working at McMaster University have ratified a new collective agreement by 78 per cent at a vote that took place on September 29.

"It's disturbing that publicly-funded institutions like universities are now starting to behave more like private corporations," said CAW Local 555 President Matt Root, of the lengthy and difficult negotiations. "This was certainly an atypical round of bargaining for our sector."

The new agreement includes wage increases in each of the three years (1%, 2% and 2.75%), a $1,000 signing bonus, improvements in compassionate care leave and the creation of a skills development and training fund.

"Because the membership rejected the university's final offer, we were able to get them back to the bargaining table and negotiate improvements", said Peggy Nash, assistant to CAW president Ken Lewenza.  "The outcome is not a clear victory, but still shows that if members stick together they have more power."

"The Local 555 fight back against an employer supervised vote proves that workers in the education sector can benefit from the backing of a strong national union," said Theresa Farao, president of CAW Education, Technical, Office and Professional workers (ETOP) Council, which represents workers in the post-secondary education sector.

The two sides had been in negotiations since April and reached an agreement on September 22, 2009. CAW Local 555 represents 2,100 workers at McMaster University in medical research, administrative support, technical and library services and printing.


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