At Contract negotiations both side have their needs, wants and issues. Part of the Bargaining Process is the winnowing through competing lists of proposals to find out what really matters to each party.
Machinists at Inland Kenworth (Nanaimo) were faced with a challenge after the first round of bargaining. The money was adequete, given the economy, and specific issues such as carrying the company phone had been resolved but the employer was wed to three items which appeared to be Must Haves.
After the first Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) was rejected, a rotating layoff proposal was withdrawn at the second round. But proposals restricting the by-seniority scheduling of vacation on the calendar to full weeks (though a senoir emplyee was excluded so he could attend his daughters BMX National meets) and a proposal to allow voluntary scheduling of December statutory holidays still remained.
The 2nd MOA was turned down when voting split 50-50. It appeared the Union bargaining was running out of gas. The company refused to budge and so a strike vote was held. If that strike vote had failed the matter would have end there and the Union signed the last MOA. But instead, it made all the difference.
The Members talked amongst themselves and made sure the Bargaining Team had a solid mandate to continue, voting 90% in favour of strike action. Suddenly, the company reversed its earlier position and withdrew all the contentious proposals.
The MOA was quickly ratified, showing how solidarity is the most effective arrow in the Union quiver. The workers in Nanimo were the last of Inland Kenworth’s Union branches to settle a new agreement. Building on the other units settlements, the Nanaimo machinists received:
- 2% – 2% – 2% with COLA protection to 3% in the last year
- an increase to $2,000 for the yearly dental allowances
- $100 per week for carrying the company phone
- $3 per hour for field work
- a $1 increase for equipment mechanics
- further wage increases through certification premiums for
- Motor Vehicle Inspection tickets $0.75/hr
- Class 1 or 3 driving license $0.50/hr
- Caterpillar Engine cert $0.25/hr
- MX engine cert $0.25/hr
- Cummins engine cert $0.25/hr
- Eaton Transmission cert $0.25/hr
- increased First Aid Ticket premium of up to $1 per hour
- 6 weeks vacation after 30 years
- a joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee to oversee all ungrading and apprentices
- a new classification for Resident Mechanic
- Members to vote to join Machinists Pension Plan or remain with the employer Retirement Savings Plan
Taken all together, and considering the general economy, not a bad day’s work!