RICHMOND—CUPE 873-03 members have ratified their first collective agreement with SN Transport, a three-year deal that includes general wage increases for each year, improvements to hours of work and leave provisions, and other benefits that were not available to members before the deal was reached.
The ratification vote was held on Thursday, with a clear majority of members supporting the tentative agreement that was reached on June 11.
“The package we put together with the help of mediator Vince Ready was one that both the union and the employer had no hesitation supporting,” said CUPE 873 President Bronwyn Barter. “The goal going forward is to implement this first collective agreement and work with the employer to make SN Transport the best workplace our members can have, one that provides excellent service for patients.”
CUPE National Representative John Strohmaier said the new contract is a solid first agreement that offers stability for CUPE 873-03 members.
“This agreement includes rights that did not exist in the SN Transport workplace before now,” said Strohmaier. The contract, he noted, includes the establishment of joint labour-management and health and safety committees, a clear and transparent process for settling disputes, and numerous provisions on vacation leave and sick time which, taken together, will contribute to a better overall working environment.
One of the sticking issues for the union was the lack of scheduling. The agreement includes an hours of work provision requiring shifts to begin within a two-hour window, with notice required for any changes. The wage increases will be 1 per cent in year one, followed by 2 per cent in the final two years of the contract.
The 115 members of CUPE 873-03 who work at SN Transport are transfer drivers and patient care assistants who bring patients to and from medical appointments at hospitals and clinics throughout the Lower Mainland. They joined CUPE in July 2014 and began bargaining for their first contract a month later.