Last night, MGEU members of Local 178 - St. Amant Community Residential Program capped-off a significant round of contract negotiations (which included a successful strike vote) by ratifying a new four-year agreement.

From the outset of negotiations, one of the main priorities for the Local was attracting and retaining workers in order to ensure quality and consistent care for St. Amant CRP clients. The new contract includes 8% in total wage increases over the life of the agreement to help address that problem.

The Local 178 Bargaining Committee also negotiated retroactive pay increases going back to April 1, 2014, along with a $0.50 per hour increase for workers with 15 years or more of continuous service, to help retain long-time employees. Changes to the increment steps (when members move to or from support worker and key worker classifications) also saw significant improvements, which will have a positive effect on recruiting and retaining workers.

The Bargaining Committee’s other main priority in this round of negotiations was to reduce the high numbers of mandated shifts being worked by most members. The new contract helps address this issue by providing a Disruption Allowance (between 1.5 and 3.5 times the regular rates of pay), while the overnight, asleep premium increases from $60 to $70. Also, scheduled shifts may no longer be altered within seven days, unless mutually agreed upon.

Another significant improvement to the contract will see casual employees now accrue seniority while working to reach full-time or part-time employment.

The Local 178 Bargaining Committee’s next step is to contact the employer and get the agreement finalized and signed before it’s printed and distributed to members. In the meantime, members of the Local are encouraged to update their contact information to ensure they receive a copy of the new contract once it is available.