Members of Kinosao Sipi Minisowin Agency Inc. (KSMA) - Local 448, who offer a range of services to children and families in both Norway House and Winnipeg, ratified their first contract yesterday.

"First collective agreements are never easy, and this one was no exception," said MGEU President Kyle Ross. "After more than a year at the table, the Bargaining Committee turned to a third-party conciliator to assist with negotiations and even then, they made little progress."

At the beginning of April, the Committee was left with little choice but to ask the Manitoba Labour Board to impose a first agreement.

"That's when the employer requested a return to the table and they were able to make some progress," Ross said. "I know the Committee really appreciated the patience and support of these members to finally achieve a fair first contract."

Highlights of the four-year deal include wage increases in each year of the agreement and the incorporation of a wide range of other benefits, including work-from-home arrangements and four days of family-related leave.

Members are encouraged to make sure the union has their most current contact information in order to receive a copy of their new collective agreement once it is available.