After 124 days on the picket lines, staff at the Fort Frances and District Association for Community Living will be back at work this week.
ACL staff, all members of CUPE Local #65, voted 98 percent on Friday in favour of accepting a new contract.
The deal, hammered out after a marathon bargaining session that started last Tuesday afternoon and wrapped up at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, includes an eight percent wage hike over two years and a pension plan.
When talks broke off April 30, employees were demanding a five percent wage increase in 2001 and 2002, as well as the pension plan. ACL administration was offering 1.5 percent for both years.
“We got an eight percent increase over two years and a pension plan, which is obviously a huge issue for us,” CUPE #65 president Gwen Miller noted.
“We’re glad that’s over,” she added.
Staff will return to work this Thursday, with Good Impressions Printing, The Treasure Chest, and the Activity Centre set to re-open by next week.
“I imagine it’s good news for everybody,” noted Alanna Barr, executive director of the ACL. “We’ll be back to normal by Oct. 1.”
Their clients, who have had few extra-curricular activities and have not been able to go to their part-time jobs because of the strike, also are expected to be pleased by the return of staff.
“Apparently, some of them are already talking about going to work on Thursday,” said Miller. “It’s getting back to normal for them, too.”