Now that they have a tentative deal with the provincial government, 2 1/2 years after their contract expired, UNBC support staff will vote this week on whether to accept it or not.
The 345 members of CUPE Local 3799 will have three days to examine details of a new collective agreement, which provides two per cent wage increases in 2012-13 and in 2013-14.
The wage hikes are equal to that achieved in other public sector unions and CUPE Local 3799 president Caroline Sewell is confident the ratification vote will pass.
"Our members just want a contract signed and then we can move on to other business," Sewell said.
The union also made contract gains on seniority rights for part-time, casual and term employees which previously protected seniority only as far back as 2005. The new provision takes into account employees hired with the opening of UNBC in 1994.
The CUPE negotiating team also managed to have an expired letter of agreement included into the body of the contract which guarantees UNBC management will cover the one-year tuition costs of one CUPE staff member to enter UNBC's masters of business administration (MBA) program every year.
The agreement with the Public Sector Employers' Council was reached Tuesday evening. If it is approved, the new contract would expire June 30, 2014.
In addition to salary increases, the new deal also adds two extra vacation days to any member of Local 3799 who has been employed 20 years or longer. The date to determine the number of vacation days was also changed to January 1st each year, instead of the anniversary date of when each employee was hired. The move was designed to simplify the task of administering holiday time.
CUPE staff hired as research assistants will be eligible for six-month work terms instead of being limited to the current four-month period.
"It really is a collaboration, that's the way we try to work, up at UNBC," Sewell said. "We're looking at the faculty and trying to work with management."
Information sessions and ratification voting will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Tuesday's meeting is scheduled from 4:30-7:30 p.m., at the UNBC Weldwood Theatre, Wednesday's session is set for noon-1 p.m. at the senate chambers, and Thursday's meeting is scheduled for the Canfor Theatre. Similar votes are being planned at UNBC's regional campuses in Fort St. John, Terrace and Quesnel. Voting results are expected to be released Friday morning.