Staff say yes to a deal that includes Fort McMurray living allowance
FORT MCMURRAY – A strike at Fort McMurray schools was called off after the school district offered employees a $350/month “Fort McMurray living allowance.”
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) had been planning to hold a strike vote last night, but called off that vote after the district increased their offer. CUPE represents non-teaching staff in the district. The non-teaching staff voted twice to reject contracts with lower monthly allowances.
“Our members sent a clear message – we can’t live in Fort McMurray on what you are paying,” said CUPE Alberta President D’Arcy Lanovaz. “We made the case that we deserve the same allowance as teachers, and the school district agreed.”
CUPE 2545 President Lorna Tollman said living allowances have become common in Fort McMurray. “The city, the university, the province and the hospitals are all having to pay extra because of the high cost of living and the labour shortage.”
“At a time when Tim Hortons is paying $15/hour – the school district need only look at its pay scales to find out why there are such huge shortages.”
The settlement was ratified by 95% of voting members. It is a four-year contract ending in 2009. In addition to the $350 allowance, employees will receive 13.5% wage increases over the life of the deal.
Contact: Lorna Tollman
President CUPE 2545
President CUPE Alberta
For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit www.alberta.cupe.ca