123RF.com/Krisana Antharith

Employees at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre in Winnipeg who are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 2348 have ratified their first collective agreement.

The new agreement allows “employees wishing to take part in traditional Indigenous ceremony such as a Sundance or healing ceremony up to four paid working days leave per calendar year, provided that such leave is authorized by the employer in advance,” said a press release.

The four days leave for Indigenous ceremony was a workplace policy before negotiations, but moving the language from policy to the legal contract ensures the days can’t be taken away should management ever change, noted the release.

Read: Manulife joins Indigenous reconciliation efforts with ceremonial garden in Toronto

“We are excited that this group now has the protection of a CUPE collective agreement,” said Allen Bleich, national servicing representative at the CUPE. “What’s more, this collective agreement has important contract language that recognizes traditional Indigenous ceremonies as a workplace right for staff.”

The new contract also recognizes June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day, and Sept. 30, National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, as paid holidays for staff.

“We are proud that our CUPE negotiating team bargained this important language into our contract,” said Joan Hay, shop steward for CUPE 2348 at the Indigenous Women’s Healing Centre, in the release. “Reconciliation includes ensuring that our workplaces recognize Indigenous culture and tradition, and I am proud to be part of a member-driven union where we can prioritize and include Indigenous perspectives and traditions into our bargaining.”

Read: Union agreement for legal aid workers includes vision care, sick leave

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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