Volume 95, Issue 2

Thursday, May 31, 2001


NEWS

France knights Davenport

Summer Games preparations continue

Eating disorder clinic opens at Western

No smokes for you - restaurants smoke-free by 2002

USC and union reach agreement

Robin Hood fanatics invade Western

Study: obesity affects mental health

News Briefs

USC and union reach agreement

By Hisham Safieddine
Gazette Staff


In a genuine break with past tradition, a collective agreement finalized between the University Students' Council general management and its unionized employees was cheered by both negotiating parties.

Mark Sellers, General Manager of the USC, described the negotiating environment as very amicable. "Unlike negotiations in the past, which were usually confrontational, this collective agreement was arbitrated in a constructive and co-operative atmosphere," he said.

Sellers explained the new management's vision is to foster a strong and beneficial relationship between management and the employees. "Providing greater access to more benefits will improve the efficiency of our operations and contribute to the stability and increased predictability of our budgetary plans," he said.

The agreement includes an eight per cent pay increase over three years. It also provides employees with increased maternal and paternal leave benefits and greater flexibility in restrictions on permissions for sick leave.

Other benefits which were not part of the agreement, and as such, apply to unionized and non-unionized employees alike, include the installation of an employee assistance program and an employee incentive program.

According to Sellers, the latter program is intended to increase the motivation of the employees and hence, their working efficiency. "The program allows employees to receive cash payments as a percentage of profits made relative to student fees," he said. "By linking these cash-payment rewards to student fees, we are working towards our long-term goal of reduction and eventual elimination of USC student fees."

Susan Christensen, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees local 2820 and one of the chief negotiators of the agreement, shared Sellers sentiments of satisfaction and optimism regarding the new contract. "Negotiations proceeded smoothly and quickly and our party is very pleased with the outcome," she said.

Christensen added one of the major concerns of the employees was the ambiguous language of some of the provisions of past agreements, something the current negotiating parties were keen to avoid.

Mike Lawless, president of the USC, commended the agreement as a positive step in the right direction. "Linking some of the benefits with the long-term goal of eliminating student fees demonstrates the new management's commitment to better serving the USC and its constituents," he said.


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