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CUPE wins perks for rural health workers

CUPE won parity and a lot of perks for its 4,000 rural health-care members in its new contract, Metro Halifax has learned.

CUPE won parity and a lot of perks for its 4,000 rural health-care members in its new contract, Metro Halifax has learned.

If ratified, union members will receive a 2.9 per cent raise retroactive to April 1, 2009, along with one per cent raises this year and next year. The contract expires Oct. 31, 2011.

Licensed practical nurses get a further six per cent raise backdated to Sept. 1, 2009. Classifications paid equal to and above lab and radiology techs also jump 2.1 per cent.

These hikes pull CUPE in line with its Capital Health counterparts in Halifax. The union even won a clause guaranteeing wage parity if Capital Health gets new raises.

When the agreement ended a brief strike Monday, CUPE Nova Scotia president Danny Cavanagh said members will be “extremely pleased.”

The union also lists 43 contract “improvements” such as severance increasing to three weeks per year of service from two, and employees on long-term disability getting paid 30 months of benefits up from 24.

While the government gave up a lot in the short term, it did manage to break the annual 2.9 per cent raise pattern in favour of its target of one per cent.