Workers at Vancouver’s First United Church ratify first contract

Deal includes raises, moves to higher classifications
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 04/13/2017
Vancouver’s First United Church. [photo] GOOGLE STREET VIEW [/photo]
Vancouver’s First United Church. GOOGLE STREET VIEW

Workers at First United Church in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside ratified their first collective agreement April 11.

In the first year of the contract, workers will receive wage increases ranging from three per cent to 11 per cent, with some classifications achieving greater than 30 per cent. All members will receive a subsequent 2.5 per cent wage hike on Aug. 1, 2017, followed by another two per cent increase on Aug. 1, 2018, said the union.

"During bargaining, our higher-paid members were willing to forego a higher wage increase to ensure that their lesser-paid coworkers came up to $15 an hour or greater," said Kim Balmer, United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW) Local 1518 executive assistant. “They wanted to ensure the custodians and dishwashers would make a living wage."

The new contract also features more full-time positions as well as enabling workers to move to higher-paid classifications, according to UFCW.

Workers at First United provide advocacy, housing, meals, and social counselling services and programs. First United Church provides support to those facing homelessness and mental health and addiction issues.

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