The Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4554 at Memorial University and the university’s students’ union are ratifying a new four-year collective agreement that includes improvements to employees’ benefits and pay.
The agreement includes a new fertility treatment clause that provides time off and financial support for employees seeking treatment, since there’s a lack of fertility services in Newfoundland and Labrador, making these services inaccessible for most residents.
In addition, it includes an expanded gender transition policy that streamlines the process of changing identity documents and strengthens workplace supports for safety and privacy in transition, while also providing financial supports for transitioning employees.
The agreement also includes expanded provisions around mental-health leave and statutory holiday substitution clauses. For example, National Indigenous Peoples’ Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation are recognized with workplace closures, so employees are encouraged to engage in Indigenous solidarity, educational or support initiatives.
And it includes a cost-of-living adjustment clause to ensure wages keep pace with inflation, as well as four per cent salary increases for each of the four years of the agreement.
“This agreement offers an important model for other workplaces seeking to ensure their policies and practices keep pace with the times,” said Rhea Rollmann, president of CUPE 4554, in a press release. “Workers across the province are feeling the pain of an economic crisis and skyrocketing prices. . . . It is imperative that employers guarantee the working conditions we all deserve.”