Union and town reach three-year contract
KENSINGTON – When Sharon Paynter and Brenda MacIsaac walked into work Friday morning at the Kensington Police Service office they had flowers and cookies waiting for them at their desk.
Sharon Paynter, rear, and Brenda MacIsaac were back to work Friday after spending more than week on the picket line in Kensington. They and four other unionized workers with the town were locked out after contract negotiations broke down. Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
Welcome back gifts from police Chief Lewie Sutherland.
It’s good to be back, said MacIsaac.
“It was great. I was welcomed with smiles and hugs and presents,” she said.
Paynter and MacIsaac were two of the six unionized employees with the Town of Kensington who were locked out of their jobs a little more than a week ago after contract negotiations between the two parties broke down.
Their representation, the Canadian Union of Public Employees, and the town finally reached a tentative agreement Thursday to end the lockout. The workers were back on the job Friday morning.
The sense of relief in the building was noticeable, said Paynter, because nobody wanted to be on the picket line – especially this time of year.
“I didn’t fancy the idea of standing in the unemployment line a week before Christmas,” she said.
She added that, “No time of year is a good time of year (for something like that), not when you like what you do.”
In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Mayor Gordon Coffin said council will now vote on whether or not to ratify the new agreement with CUPE.
He’s hopeful the town can now move on.
“Everyone can now put this situation behind them and start to move forward,” said Coffin.
“Both parties put forth enormous effort in reaching this tentative agreement,” said Stacy Delaney, CUPE national representative.
“We look forward to a continued positive working relationship with the Town of Kensington.”
According to the release, the new contract would see a three-year-term, provide on-call pay for part time police officers and a “wage structure that meets the needs of both parties, staying within the parameters of the town’s budgetary constraints while meeting the needs of the employees.”
It had previously been reported that the last wage increase offer by the town was 7.5 per cent over three years.
Both parties have agreed to withhold further details until after the deal is signed.