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Yukon College ratifies collective agreement

Two hundred Yukon College employees will soon see fatter paycheques.The college and its employees' union have each ratified a tentative collective…

Two hundred Yukon College employees will soon see fatter paycheques.

The college and its employees’ union have each ratified a tentative collective agreement, which was struck on August 15.

The three-year deal will run from July 1, 2007 through June 30, 2010. It includes incremental wage increases of three per cent a year.

It’s going to cost the college $250,000 in the first year, said college human resource services director Jock Bryce.

The increase is consistent with previous contracts negotiated between the Yukon government and the Yukon Teachers’ Association.

“It was easy dealing with the main wage adjustment,” he said. “It was the other components that were more complex.”

The main bargaining took less than two days, but dealing with the complex non-monetary issues took five days of pre-bargaining in May and June.

“It’s a very productive way to separate issues that may have been facing an institution for some years and not been resolved,” said Bryce.

This was the first time pre-bargaining has been used.

“It was a real breakthrough,” said Yukon College Employees’ Union president Christina Thomas.

That process helped resolve longstanding issues, she said, citing a code of ethics and statement of academic freedoms and responsibilities.

And employee ownership rights to copyright were clarified, including the employer’s rights to work done by paid employees on work time.

The agreement will also recognize previous casual employment and qualification for permanent employment where funding is provided by a third party.

“I thought it went exceedingly well,” said Bryce.

“It was clear pretty early in the process that both parties were committed to trying to reach an agreement on these issues.”

Neither side could agree on employee access to courses, but they have agreed to continue working towards a resolution, said Thomas.

“The whole spirit of the negotiations was quite positive,” she said.

“It gave us a good sense that we will be able to resolve these things collaboratively in the future.”