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Photo by Mark Newman

Photo by Mark Newman

Support staff at Mohawk College will vote on a new four year collective agreement next month. The deal, covering 8,000 support staff at Ontario's 24 community colleges, was reached just before 10 p.m. on Thursday in Toronto

Tentative deal for Ontario college support staff

Union says new deal contains wage increases and no concessions

By Mark Newman, News Staff

Some 8,000 support staff at Ontario’s 24 community colleges, including about 360 at Mohawk College, will vote next month on a new four-year contract.

“We’re happy to have four years of labour  peace,” said Florry Foster, chair of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union bargaining team that reached a tentative deal with the College Employer Council just before 10 p.m. in Toronto on Thursday.

The talks had been under a media blackout since Aug. 5.

“It’s great to get the deal done early,” said employer council chief executive officer Don Sinclair, who noted the agreement provides some certainty heading into the fall semester for students and support staff.

“This is great news for our students and staff,” said Mohawk president Ron McKerlie. “It allows our staff to keep doing what they do best, which is serving our students and giving them a great college experience.”

While she won’t provide any specific details until the deal is ratified, Foster said there were no concessions and there are wage increases in each of the four years.

She noted the atmosphere at the bargaining table was much better than the 2011 negotiations that resulted in a 13-day strike.

“We know the economy and we know the situation,” said Foster, who expects copies of the memorandum of agreement to be distributed to the membership by next Tuesday.

The union’s bargaining committee will be travelling across the province over the next three weeks to present the agreement to support staff at each college.

They will be visiting Mohawk College on Aug. 26 and 27.

A ratification vote is expected by mid September.

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