A possible strike has been averted and museum staff and the Clarington Museums and Archives have successfully negotiated their first contract.
“We are happy that we were eventually able to find some common ground and reach an agreement without disrupting the services that the museum provides to the community,” Roberta Stasyszyn, spokesperson for Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 74) museum workers said in a press release. “We wanted this first collective agreement to acknowledge the work that we do and address the precarious position that we were in as employees of the museum. We believe that this agreement offers us more stability and security than what we had before.”
A tentative contract agreement was reached on Thursday, Sept. 21, and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 74) issued a statement on Tuesday, Sept. 26 that museum employees and the Clarington Museums and Archives had ratified the deal.
It gives museum workers increased job security and modest wage increases. The staff at the Clarington Museums and Archives unionized in 2016. This is the first contract negotiation process staff and the museum board have gone through.
Earlier this month, museum staff voted unanimously to strike if the museum insisted on a contract that classified employees as occasional workers, according to a press release issued on Sept. 14. The strike deadline of Sunday, Sept. 24 could have closed the doors at the Bowmanville Museum, the Clark Museum and the Sarah Jane Williams Heritage Centre to visitors and school groups.
The newly-reached agreement covers the period from July 20, 2016 to Dec. 31, 2017. This first collective agreement will serve as the basis for future negotiations, according to the union release.
“It is a relief for us to have an agreement after so many months, we look forward to continuing to serve the people of Clarington,” Stasyszyn said. “But there is still more work to be done, and we will begin to turn our attention to the next round of negotiations.”