At a meeting Tuesday, which had 100-per-cent
attendance, members were given details of the tentative agreement;
it was ratified two days later in a 15-0 vote.
It provides salary increases of 1.5 per cent in the first
year, retroactive to Nov. 1, 2009 (worth about $750), and
two per cent annually in the following four years.
"Last Thursday, when we started two days of conciliation,
we were not sure there was an agreement to be reached," says
Llewellyn. "But we had a great conciliator and, once
we dropped our demand for paid sick days, the deal fell into
While it struck out on the sick days,
the FTU was able to get more money for flex benefits, which
now match those at two other Irving-owned papers in New
Brunswick, the Telegraph-Journal in Saint John and the
Times & Transcript in Moncton.
David Esposti, the CWA Canada staff
representative who was involved in the negotiations, says
things went a lot smoother than in the past. He's hoping "we can get the same sort
of settlement in Moncton," which heads into bargaining
in a few weeks.
Other highlights of the Fredericton agreement:
• Employer will pay all, rather
than half, of any increase in premiums for basic medical
and dental coverage;
• Night shift premium is bumped
up from $6 by 20 cents in each year;
• Defined contributions for
pension plan are now matching at five per cent ;
• Management dropped demand
for a two-tier wage system;
• If a new classification is
introduced (such as an online editor, which the paper does
not currently have), the two sides will try to negotiate
a wage rate. If there is no agreement, the employer sets
the rate until the next contract.
Llewellyn says management also agreed to restrict pagination
to employees in the editorial department, except in emergencies.
The company had been bringing in people from the non-unionized
advertising department to put together news pages.