NAPE, Choices for Youth reach tentative deal to end strike

·2 min read
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Public and Private Employees at Choices For Youth in St. John's began to strike mid-March. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)
Members of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association for Public and Private Employees at Choices For Youth in St. John's began to strike mid-March. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC - image credit)
Jeremy Eaton/CBC
Jeremy Eaton/CBC

Choices for Youth and its unionized workers have reached a tentative agreement to end a five-week strike that affected a youth shelter in downtown St. John's.

The nine workers — members of the the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) — have been on strike on March 15.

The workers are employees of The Lilly, a 14-unit congregate living supportive housing facility that Choices for Youth has operated for more than a decade.

"This is a first collective agreement for a group of workers who chose NAPE close on two years ago now," union president Jerry Earle told CBC News Thursday morning.

"We've built a collective agreement basically from the foundation up."

The tentative deal includes a monetary increase, retroactive pay and improvements in contract language. Details of the deal have not been publicly released, as they need to go to NAPE members first.

The deal, which was made around 9:30 p.m. NT Wednesday, will address some key concerns, Earle said.

Jeremy Eaton/CBC
Jeremy Eaton/CBC

"This is a group that has not seen any type of raise in 12 years. We all know what's happening with the cost of living," he said.

"You can imagine now trying to live on an income that you were earning 12 years ago, unfortunately there's a number of people in Newfoundland and Labrador living like that. So we worked quite vigorously to try to change that."

One of the bigger problems the union had was when Choices for Youth offered a compensation increase last year to its employees but not to those represented by the union, Earle said.

He said it was a clear message sent by the non-profit organization of consequences for joining the union.

In a media release sent Thursday morning, Choices for Youth said it's pleased to have reached a tentative agreement.

"Our objective since Day 1 has been on getting a fair deal that aligns with our principle of equity and fairness across the organization," the release reads. "We have respected both the process and our employees' rights, and we look forward to welcoming our Lilly staff back to work soon."

Earle said he hopes a ratification vote will happen within the next day or two.

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