Northern Hospitals Ratify 1st CAW Deal

Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

April 4, 2002


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Northern Hospitals Ratify 1st CAW Deal
Northern Hospitals Ratify 1st CAW Deal
dated April 4, 2002

Sault Ste. Marie
February 25, 2002
       Ninety-one percent of the workers at nine hospitals from Elliot Lake to Thunder Bay voted in favour of their first contract as members of the Canadian Auto Workers. After years of having to accept arbitrated deals of one per cent a year, the new contract gives the members a wage increase of two and a half, three and three per cent over the three-year deal.


       Connie Doucette, bargaining committee chair for North Algoma Health Organization in Wawa, says the CAW way of negotiating is a refreshing change from what they have done in the past.

Connie Doucette
Bargaining Chair
North Algoma Health Organization

       "This is the first time in eight years I've been a chairperson that I have ever seen proposals brought from the members to the bargaining committee and they were able to have a say throughout the whole process and to me that is the biggest thing that we moved ahead to another union for. In the past everything has been arbitrated for us and we haven't had a say in what we are supposed to get or what we wanted. This whole process of bargaining has been great."

       The fight to get wage parity for the RPNs at Elliot Lake and Sault area hospitals did make some progress according to Janice Carr, President of CAW Local 1120.

Janice Carr
President
CAW Local 1120

       "It has been many years that we have been after them for wage parity for the RPNs and we could never get it. And we at least have a dollar an hour on top of the 8.5 and if you figure it out, 8.5 plus your dollar an hour, you are looking at a 15 per cent increase for the RPNs."

       Laurie Lessard of the office clerical Sault area hospitals said the improvement for the RPNs was just the beginning and is confident further gains will be made towards parity for other sectors.

Laurie Lessard
Clerical Chair
Sault area Hospitals


       "We finally got something on the table for the RPNs. With the SEIU, our former union we never got parity across the board for anybody. We've been fighting this and we finally got it on the board. We're going to start with the RPN and in our next round of negotiations in three years, we are going to be looking at the other groups."

       Andy Savela, CAW Local 229 president in Thunder Bay says the national union's support was critical.

Andy Savela
Pres CAW Local 229
Thunder Bay

       "They have a good understanding of healthcare. We've seen that in the literature, on the website, and in our dealings with the National office; that they have an understanding in what's going on. And so, the support at bargaining has been much better, because we don't have to go back and explain to them what's happening in Canadian healthcare. They know."

       The 1,600 members covered by the contract also made substantial gains in benefits, health and safety, job security, layoff and recall rights and workplace harassment. Shift and weekend premium payments increased an d there were improvements in vacations.

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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