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NAPE members to vote on tentative deal in new year

NAPE president Jerry Earle, in a speech to members attending a convention in St. John’s Friday, offers optimism about reaching collective agreements by the end of the year in public-sector bargaining with the provincial government. He said the tone of negotiations changed after the departure of former finance minister Cathy Bennett. See story, page A6
Jerry Earle

Agreement protects jobs with ‘groundbreaking’ language: Jerry Earle

Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees (NAPE) president Jerry Earle sees the timing of a tentative contract deal for his members with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as both good and bad.

The agreement is ahead of the holiday season, but only just, meaning it’s a bit difficult to quickly convene ratification meetings around the province and get the details into the hands of members from the 15 bargaining units involved.

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At this point, Earle told The Telegram, it looks like the meetings will take place in the first and second weeks of January.

While the potential contract won’t be in their hands, Earle said members should take some consolation with news of a tentative deal. All taxpayers can for that matter, he suggested, as they won’t have to worry about related job actions by NAPE members and disruption in services.

While not releasing any numbers or contract language, Earle said the agreement protects against significant job losses.

“The language that we’ve secured, I think it’s groundbreaking,” he said.

Outside the House of Assembly, Finance Minister Tom Osborne wouldn’t reveal any more numbers or specifics than Earle, but issued thanks to everyone involved in the negotiations to date.

“I will say that through this process we’ve reached a deal that works for the people of the province, for government and for our very valued public servants,” Osborne said.

Asked about what it means for the next budget, the minister said only that it will have some affect — anything more would be leaking details unfairly before the ratification meeting and union member votes.

The tentative agreement as set applies to NAPE workers at the College of the North Atlantic; in health care and support; marine and air services; maintenance workers; student assistants; WorkplaceNL; and staff at the Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corp.

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