April 26, 2013
Volume 43, No. 16
CAW Members Ratify First Contract at TRW
TRW auto parts workers in Tillsonburg, Ontario have voted 83.8 per cent in favour of a first collective agreement that sees wages and benefits improve, two-tier pay structures eliminated for production workers and restrictions placed on the use of temporary agency work, among other substantial gains. Voting for the new contract took place on April 20.
"This is a landmark deal for these parts workers," said Jerry Dias, Assistant to CAW National President. "These are challenging and insecure times for workers in the manufacturing sector. TRW workers have shown that these challenges can be overcome, and security won, through a union contract."
The new three-year deal includes a 90¢ per hour wage increase in the first year of the deal, with subsequent hourly rate increases of 1 per cent in years two and three. Skilled trades will receive an additional 75¢ hourly-wage bump-up over the life of the agreement.
The union also successfully eliminated the practice of "two-tier" wages for a growing group of workers at TRW, said CAW National Representative Julie Herron.
"Workers stuck on the second rung of the wage ladder will now have a clear path to top rate, which equates to thousands of dollars per year in additional income," Herron said. The new wage grow-in period will be six-years.
The union also negotiated an end to the practice of hiring temporary agency workers in the plant as of June 30, 2014. These third-party contract workers at the facility had earned nearly half ($11 per hour) the top rate of pay, with no long-term job security.
"This new union contract is over 20 years in the making," said Bargaining Committee Chairperson Elaine Kamenar, representing the 220 TRW workers. "The workers at our facility have been trying for decades to win collective bargaining rights. Now we've got them. And the benefits have been instant. The gains we've made in this contract, are well deserved and long overdue."
TRW workers voted to join the CAW in October, 2012 and are members of Local 1859. TRW manufactures steering columns, brake systems and other auto parts for Ford, General Motors and Chrysler.
First Contract Ratified at Casino Niagara and Fallsview
Casino Niagara and Fallsview Casino security gaurds vote on their first union contract on April 19.
Photo by Peter Scott, Local 199
Security officers ratified their first CAW collective agreement with Casino Niagara and Niagara Fallsview Casino Resort by 81 per cent. The vote took place at a membership meeting April 19. The 200 officers, are represented by CAW Local 199.
"We are incredibly proud of our security officer bargaining team's success in negotiating an excellent first agreement with the company," said CAW Local 199 President Wayne Gates.
"In these turbulent times for Ontario's gaming industry, the protection of a strong union contract will provide a measure of stability and certainty to these security officers."
Full-time and part-time officers who worked 1,500 hours or more in 2012 will receive a one-time payment of $1,400 by May 15, 2013. Employees who worked fewer hours will have these payments prorated based on hours worked.
In 2014, officers will be entitled to an additional prorated payment of $750 or possibly an optional general wage. Wage rates will also increase by 35¢ per hour on April 1, 2015 and on April 1, 2016.
There were also a number of benefit and work improvements negotiated under the new agreement.
The security officers joined the CAW in 2012.
Crab Price Dispute Settled in Newfoundland
The CAW/FFAW has reached a deal on crab pricing with the Association of Seafood Producers (ASP) that puts an end to a weeks-long dispute in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador.
Processors agreed to pay 17 cents more per pound for all crab sales up to and including May 4, which is over and above the minimum $1.83 per pound as set by the provincial Standing Fish Price-Setting Panel.
The dispute started in April, following news that the ASP had proposed setting crab prices at rates below those offered in 2012 and 2011. The $1.83 per pound rate ($1.53 for crabs with less than a four-inch carapace) fell far below the union's proposed rate of $2.00.
"The processors spent the winter building up expectations for a significant increase in the price of crab from last year," CAW/FFAW President Earle McCurdy said in an interview with The Coaster newspaper. "They hyped it up by talking to license holders and led them to understand they would be receiving good prices for crab, which would mean increased paychecks this year."
Hundreds of fish harvesters attended a meeting in Clarenville on April 4, and made it clear they would not start the 2013 crab season until a better price was offered. The dispute escalated on April 15, when more than 200 fishers dumped 30,000 pounds of crab back into the ocean when a processor in the small community of Hickman's Harbour tried to produce crab in the face of the tie-up.
In addition to the revised pricing rate, the union and ASP agreed to form a joint working group that will develop options for crab pricing structures in future.
CAW Ratifies Contract at Jamieson Labs
CAW Local 195 members in Windsor have voted in favour of a new four-year collective agreement that includes wage and benefit gains, among other improvements.
The deal includes a $2 per hour wage increase, over the life of the contract, as well as improved life insurance payouts and increases in the clothing allowance. The contract also entrenches pay equity provisions in the workplace.
"Our members have made some important and long overdue gains in this contract," said CAW Local 195 President Gerry Farnham. "What we've ended up with is a fair deal that positions us for the future. Our bargaining committee worked hard to get this deal right, and it's something our members can now stand behind."
The members voted 77 per cent in favour of the new deal on April 21, after an initial settlement was voted down earlier in the year.
The union represents more than 200 workers at Jamieson Labs, which produces vitamin and nutritional supplements.
New Deal at St. Francis Xavier University
Members of CAW Local 2107 voted 80 per cent in favour of a new agreement with St. Francis Xavier University, in Antigonish, Nova Scotia. The vote took place on April 10.
The three-year contract includes raises of 1.75 per cent for the first two years and two per cent for the last year. There is a signing bonus, based on years of service.
CAW Local 2107 represents 115 cleaners, skilled tradespeople and rink operators at the university.
"We think that we did the best we could at the present time," Carla Bryden, CAW national representative told the Halifax Chronicle Herald. At the bargaining table, the university repeatedly raised its projected $5-million deficit this year.
A Song for Electro-Motive Workers
Local London, Ontario band Pete Denomme and the Cosmic Cowboys have recently written a song in commemoration of the workers of Electro-Motive Diesel, who lost their jobs when the plant closed in February 2012.
The new song 'They Keep Rollin' speaks to the heartbreak and frustration of job loss, at the hands of powerful, rich multi-national companies.
Lead singer Denomme said that he remembers seeing images of the locked out workers on television and unlike some other labour disputes - this one seemed so black and white. "It really hit me because it seemed like these workers were being offered next to nothing - to have their wages cut in half. I thought it was an awful way to go about business, and many people in the London community felt the same way," said Denomme.
Denomme likened song writing to having a conversation. "When I'm writing a song, I look at the subjects that touch my heart and this was one of them."
The band is officially releasing the song at a benefit show for the London Food Bank at the London Music Club on April 25. Check out 'They Keep Rollin': http://youtu.be/9nxMDe4WO-k
The song was written as a benefit initiative to the London Food Bank.
Day of Mourning, April 28
Please note the Day of Mourning for workers injured or killed on the job will be recognized on Sunday April 28 at 11:00 a.m. For information on Day of Mourning events in your community, be sure to contact your local union or regional labour council offices.