B.C. Hydro reaches tentative deal with union

A handful of Greater Trail BC Hydro employees could have a new contract this year after being without one since April.

A handful of Greater Trail BC Hydro employees could have a new contract this year after being without one since April.

On Monday the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 378 (COPE378) and BC Hydro announced they reached a tentative agreement that includes wage increases and an increase to benefits.

The agreement is subject to ratification by COPE 378’s members—including three Trail-based employees and 12 in Castlegar—with BC Hydro. Trail service is covered by FortisBC.

The tentative agreement contains an overall four per cent wage lift, staggered throughout the two years of the collective agreement. The collective agreement covers April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2014. The union’s bargaining committee is recommending ratification to its members.

Highlights of the tentative agreement also include benefit increases such as expansion of immediate family to bereavement language and favourable changes to length of service

The ratification vote will be held by mail-in ballot.

COPE 378 represents nearly 2,000 inside technical, professional and administrative workers at BC Hydro. The union and the employer have been bargaining since April 2012.

On Monday COPE 378 also announced the Insurance Corporation of BC—including employees at the Trail Claims Centre—ratified a four-year agreement with the Corporation.

The previous agreement expired March 31, 2010. The new agreement will cover June 1, 2010 to June 30, 2014. Wage increases are one per cent annually for the life of the contract.

As well, a tentative agreement still sits on the table for ratification by COPE 378—including 81 Trail members—in their negotiations with FortisBC Inc. (Electric). In late October 75 per cent of COPE 378 members voted in favour of ratifying a tentative agreement reached with the employer on Oct.18.

The three-year agreement carries with it a 2.5 per cent wage increase in the first year, with two per cent increases in the two subsequent years.

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