July 26, 2013
Volume 43, No. 27
Workers at Coca-Cola Approve New Agreement
Workers at Coca-Cola bottling in Brampton, Ontario have approved a new three-year deal by 83 per cent, officially ending a three-week long strike.
"The real fight here was over the defined benefit pension plan, with Coca-Cola pushing us to move to a defined contribution plan," said Jerry Dias, Assistant to the CAW National President. "Coca-Cola can certainly afford for employees to retire with a stable income. We were ultimately successful in keeping the defined benefit pension plan and improving upon it."
The new deal also includes wage increases in the second and third year and an agreement that would end demands to outsource existing work. The union also negotiated a weekend worker program, which includes two 12-hour premium shifts over the weekend to allow for 24 hour, seven day a week production.
Production resumed on Monday, July 22.
CAW Local 973 represents approximately 700 workers at the Coca-Cola bottling facility in Brampton.
First CAW Contract for Pilots at Cargojet Airways
Pilots at Cargojet Airways Ltd. have overwhelmingly ratified a first collective agreement between CAW and Cargojet.
Cargojet Airways Ltd operates a fleet of Boeing 727, 757 and 767 freighters across Canada and around the world and employs over 70 airline pilots who are members of CAW Local 7378.
The new deal includes wage increases and key improvements to pilot scheduling, increases in pension, sick days and numerous other improvements.
"The new agreement makes a number of improvements and will meet our membership concerns," said Captain Colin Brazier, bargaining committee chairperson. "We anticipate that these new conditions will reduce the potential of fatigue by a considerable degree. The solidarity of the members and the bargaining committee's hard work helped ensure a strong agreement for our pilot group while allowing Cargojet to remain competitive and prosperous over the long term."
The new agreement also includes a number of new jobs being created. The pilots negotiated wage increases which increased the top of the Captain scale by 6 per cent and up to 1.5 per cent per year over the term of the contract, retroactive to January 1, 2013. Other gains include improvements to the scheduling system and an increase in annual vacation.
Pilots voted on the new agreement after meetings held on July 9, 10, 11 and 12.
CAW Local 7378 represents the over 70 professional pilots at Cargojet. The CAW represents 11,600 members in the air transportation sector including pilots of Morningstar Air Express, Sunwing Airlines and Cargojet Airways Ltd.
CAW Members at VIA Rail Approve New Deals
CAW members at VIA Rail have voted to approve new agreements by a total of 86 per cent, during a series of meetings across the country spanning several weeks.
The new three-year agreements include wage increases, improved job security for part-time workers, new joint apprenticeship committees and maintaining the defined benefit pension plan. A new job sharing program has also been negotiated which will allow employees to temporarily share a position, or assignment, to help improve work-life balance, particularly for those frequently away from home.
The new agreement covers 2,100 CAW members working at VIA Rail in station and onboard customer service and train maintenance.
"Our members make important contributions to keeping VIA Rail moving and we're happy that this agreement acknowledges their work," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "Negotiations cannot solve the problem of chronic underfunding of Canada's transportation networks, such as VIA Rail.
Government must step up to ensure that Canada has a viable national railway system that connects communities right across the country, instead of starving our national passenger rail. Canadians, including VIA Rail workers, are looking for leadership on this issue."
The new deals were reached late on June 13 during around the clock negotiations, avoiding a national work stoppage.
CAW members at VIA Rail are covered by three different collective agreements. The breakdown of the ratification results are:
Off-board, station and phone service staff - 83 per cent; On-board service staff - 88 per cent; Shopcraft skilled trades maintenance - 86 per cent.
CAW Meets New Bank of Canada Governor
CAW President Ken Lewenza and CAW Economist Jim Stanford met with newly appointed Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz at a luncheon organized for his first public speech in late June. During the meeting, Lewenza spoke with Poloz about the state of the auto industry in Canada. Poloz began his new post on June 3, replacing Mark Carney, who was appointed as governor of the Bank of England. Carney spoke at the CAW Convention in August 2012.
Pictured here are CAW Economist Jim Stanford,Carolyn Hughes of Ford Canada, Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and CAW President Ken Lewenza.
CAW Calls for Renewed National Health Care Accord
The CAW is calling on all provincial and territorial premiers to press the federal government to reach a new agreement on health care. The existing health care accord expires in 2014. The Premiers met July 24-26 for the Council of the Federation in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
CAW President Ken Lewenza raised concerns about the federal government's retreat from supporting universal health care and warns of encroaching privatization, which would see medical care become inaccessible for many Canadians.
"The federal government is bent on a pro-business agenda at the expense of Canadians and our long cherished universal, public health care system. There is an essential fairness built into our health care system, which I believe reflects the real values of Canadians."
Lewenza spoke at the mass rally held on Thursday, July 25 in Niagara-on-the-Lake.
If a new agreement is not reached, Lewenza warned, the federal share of funding for health care will decline by $36 billion in coming years. In a further show of ill-will by the government, it has also cut health care for refugees, the RCMP, veterans' long-term care beds, and the Health Council of Canada.
The CAW represents more than 26,000 health care workers from across the country. The CAW sent eight buses of local union leaders, activists and retirees from across the province to participate in the rally.
CAW Donates $25,000 in Support of Lac-Mégantic Victims
The CAW has donated $25,000 to the Canadian Red Cross to help support efforts in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. The explosion which has left 50 dead or unaccounted for has also deeply touched union leaders and members. Many CAW local unions in Quebec and across the country have also made donations.
"We are saddened by this terrible and wholly preventable loss of life," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "We are calling on Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to take full responsibility for this awful accident. The company must not be allowed to turn its back on the community of Lac-Mégantic."
The incident highlights the need to strengthen workplace safety standards in the rail sector, including mandating adequate staffing levels, said Lewenza.
"It's our duty as a union trying to make a difference for all those families who in the space of a few hours saw their lives ripped apart, with the loss of life, damage to their homes and community," said CAW Quebec Director Sylvain Martin.
The CAW represents 9,000 railway workers.
Workers at First Nickel Approve New Agreement
Workers at the First Nickel mine in Lockerby, Ontario approved a new four-year deal by 94 per cent at a ratification meeting on July 9.
Workers at First Nickel, members of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW, worked to ensure there were no concessions to their current language and that the new agreement improved job security.
"The negotiations went well," said Richard Paquin, President of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW. "Talks were cordial and both parties agree that this is a fair deal and shows our commitment to the success of the Lockerby Depth Project and First Nickel Inc."
The new deal which has no concessions includes increases in wages and benefits over the four years of the agreement. The agreement also includes improvements to language and a signing bonus and secures a four-year contract.
Mine Mill Local 598/CAW represents 115 workers at the Lockerby mine working in production and maintenance. The mill produces approximately 10 million pounds of payable nickel and approximately seven million pounds of payable copper annually.
CAW Supports Ojibway Nation Cabin Build
The CAW is proud to support Biimadasahwin, a grassroots indigenous cabin building project started by Darlene Necan and other women from the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen of Treaty 3 and Treaty 9 Territory in the Thunder Bay District of Northwestern Ontario.
Biimadasahwin, the name given to this project, means "life" in Ojibway. The goal is to build homes, a gathering place and to return to traditional territory. In building homes and communal spaces, the project addresses homelessness and the need to protect the land.
The project is currently working to build the infrastructure for a summer youth camp and meeting place to support local indigenous activists.
The CAW and CAW staff retirees contributed $1,500 to the project. Many individual members and staff have also made contributions.
For more information on the current campaign and to learn how to support this important initiative visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/biimadasahwin-gathering-place
Navistar Pension Hearing in December
A number of CAW members and retirees of Navistar have received a notice of hearing published by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario ("FSCO") regarding the upcoming Navistar hearing.
By law, the notice must be issued to everyone who was or is a member/participant in the Navistar pension plan, all as part of the partial plan wind up procedure. That process of notification will include notices in the Chatham and Windsor daily papers by July 20, 2013.
The partial wind up of the pension plan has been necessitated by the closure of the Chatham truck plan in July 2011.
Earlier this year, the Deputy Superintendent (Pensions) of FSCO issued a ruling in favour of the submissions made by the CAW. Navistar chose to appeal this ruling to the Financial Services Tribunal. The CAW supports the ruling and will maintain its support before the FST.
Not every member has to or should attend the hearing. Plan members currently working at the Navistar parts depot are not affected by this dispute. Those Navistar retirees who retired prior to 2008 are also not impacted by the dispute, unless they retired while on layoff or sick leave.
The CAW legal and pension departments are actively engaged in this process and continue to act on behalf of all Navistar workers and retirees who were affected by the 2008-2009 layoffs and the closure of the Chatham facility. The CAW is committed to presenting all relevant evidence to insure the favourable ruling of the Deputy Superintendent stands unchanged.
The FST hearings will occur December 2013.
For more information, please visit: www.caw.ca/navistar
Former CAW Staff Steve Watson Named Urban Hero
Former CAW Education staff member Steve Watson was recently recognized as an "urban hero" in Toronto for his efforts at the Rexdale Pathways to Education afterschool program.
Watson was instrumental in setting up the initial program with the Horn of Africa Community Development Association in Rexdale, in the northwest corner of Toronto. Watson was joined by Said Duale, CAW plant chair at Nestle and other local Somali leaders in setting up the afterschool program in 2002.
Steve and his partner Arlene at a rally in Toronto, Ontario
According to Watson, at that time approximately half of the students from the community housing project in Rexdale never finished high school.
Watson approached Pathways to Education the next year and a few years later, the program was migrated over to Pathways where it has flourished. Since 2007, Watson has volunteered several nights a week tutoring English and French to local teenagers.
"These kids are no less bright or motivated than other kids, they just needed more help," said Watson in a write up about his award.
Watson credits the CAW for his involvement in the program and for its financial support for Pathways to Education. Congratulations Steve!