Machinists at Alliance Engineering Ratify New Three Year Agreement

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Fabricator Mark Miller, Shop Steward and Negotiation Committee Member, cleans his work area for his next project.

Machinist Union members at Alliance Engineering in Central Saanich have ratified a new three year agreement. Due to the low inflation rate, in absolute terms, the increases seems modest but when the Consumer Price Index is factored in, the increases in real terms are acceptable. Cost of Living protection was included in the third year of the Collective Agreement as though we can be fairly confident of low inflation in the first two years our crystal ball becomes foggy as we look further into the future.alliance 4 cropped sm

All structural steel business in BC face intense completion from non-union companies out of Alberta. Companies, like Hold Fast in Nanaimo, bid jobs at a loss to secure market share. They have deep pockets and often pay their tradesmen $6 less per hour than the going rate. Unionization of these companies is a priority for the Machinists Union on Vancouver Island.alliance george cropped sm

In spite of this competition, Alliance Engineering, valuing the skills of the Members, still agreed to increases and improvements.

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Collective Agreement Highlights:

  • Three year term
  • 1.5% increase in each year with inflation protection to 2.5% in the final year
  • Overtime meal allowance increased from $13 to $20
  • Field work premium increased to $1 per hour
  • Work done for industrial customers in shop now attracts field premium
  • Loss of tools provisions updated
  • Pension option added
  • Family Day added giving 13 stat holidays
  • Seniority language clarified

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Members at Geo Tech Industries OK Three Year Agreement

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Fabricator Val Alatiit

Geo Tech is a fabrication and machine shop specialising in stainless steel and large fabrications. Located across the road from the Crofton pulp mill, 60% of Geo Tech’s work is in the field. The shop fabricates assemblies that are installed throughout British Columbia. The crews also go to Cube each year to work on major industrial projects.

This is a COLA shop. Wage increases automatically follow the Consumer Price Index. After twenty years of near parity with our other shops in the area, due to low inflation over the last couple of years, wages have lagged a little behind. The employer agreed to a wage adjustment of 2% at the beginning of the Collective Agreement to partially close the gap. The company position was to continue with the uncapped COLA as both sides take an equal risk, the employees during low inflation and the employer during high inflation. In the end, the Members decided not to try to change the compensation system and will continue with the COLA system.

Beside the immediate 2% increase, the new Agreement contained the following improvements:

  • Provision for four day ten-hour work week for shop and field employees
  • Vision care benefit providing eye glasses and frames replacement for employees and insured family members once every two years to a maximum of $300.00
  • Company will pay up to $200.00 every two years toward Prescription Safety Glasses for employees from the OVP Plan
  • A maximum of 80 overtime hours can be banked per year
  • All unused banked hours will be paid out on the last paycheck of the year
  • $20.00 meal allowance paid to employees who work a 12 hour shift or greater
  • Travel Pay will now be indexed
  • Living Out Allowance increased to $60.00/day plus accommodation or $100.00/day without accommodation
  • Family Day added to Statutory holidays
  • Field Worker Letter Of Understanding
    • Wage Table: Rate of Pay = shop rate + 5.5 per cent
    • Holiday and Vacation Pay: 12 per cent on paycheck, up from 8.4%
    • Health and Welfare payment raised by $0.47 / hour to $2.16 per hour
    • Employer contribution of 10% Retirement savings to be paid on each cheque
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Machinist and Charge Hand Corey Croghan

The Members have been busy over the last three years and, with this new Agreement, look forward to three more.

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Canadian Tire (Nanaimo) Auto Service Department Settles

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Canadian Tire is not know as a Union Employer but, in Nanaimo, the Service Department is represented by the Machinists Union. The store has seen a change of ownership and now is moving to a brand new facility in the fall. These two factors made bargaining a new Collective Agreement particularly challenging.

The old agreement pasted its renewal date without an agreement being reached, in spite of meetings going back to June 2012. Proposals made by the Employer did not find favour with the Membership, especially as the offer contained no wage increase. Negotiations were put on hold over the Xmas – New Year period.

When negotiations resumed in the spring the Employer showed some new flexibility, possibly because he was reminded that it is not wise to look at the relocation of an entire store while the Collective Agreement was outstanding.  The Company put money on the table and a new agreement was quickly hammered out. An across-the-board increase of 2% was instituted, the Auto Techs’ guarantee of hours of pay was increased to 62 hours per pay period as the ability to earn money from maintenance duties was included. The Family Day statutory holiday was added. Clarification language for seniority provisions rounded out the Agreement.

Next year, the agreement comes up for renewal again. With the Service Department established in the brand new store by then, Machinists at Canadian Tire have confidence the next Agreement will not disappoint.

 

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Harris Victoria Chrysler (formerly Ensign Chrysler) Conclude New Collective Agreement

Machinists Union members at the former Ensign Chrysler, now Harris Victoria Chrysler, have had a tough four years. The dealership was once a leader in the Victoria area but, over the years, the business declined. In 2008, ownership transfer from local businessmen to an absentee owner who operated a chain of dealerships in Saskatchewan and Alberta. At the same time, the domestic auto industry went into meltdown. For a while, it seemed Ensign would be one of the marginal dealerships Chrysler was culling in an effort to remain solvent.

In the end, Ensign made the cut and became a dealership for the new, bailed out Chrysler. Due to the extremely difficult position of the employer found huimself in, Technicians at Ensign agreed to work under a Flat Rate system instead of the hourly pay with bonus they had enjoyed before. Flat Rate in the 60s, 70s, even 80s paid well, with a combination of reasonable book times and plentiful work. But fast forward to 2009, and the combination of impossibly low book times for warranty and a lack of retail customers took a toll a big toll on Members’ earning. Particularly grating for Techs was waiting their entire shift for work to come in the door and not getting paid a red cent until it appeared. The Techs had a weekly guarantee of 32 hours a week and that is what they lived on, 80% of their nominal wages.

It was not that the Techs’ work was anything but explemary; their efficiency rates were over 120% taken as a group, with two out of the seven over 140%. The work simply was not there and the dealership appeared to be unable to attract more.

Just before the end of the last Collective Agreement, the dealership changed hands again. Gone was the group from Saskatchewan, as the Tom Harris Group, a successful chain of five dealerships up island took the reigns. Immediately the business began to rebound as successful sales strategies were applied with vigor.

The question of the Collective Agreement was still unsettled as Tom Harris personally conducted the negotiations. Listening to the problems his employees had endured, he responded with positive proposals which helped both employee and employer. Tom Harris’s recognition of the key role of his skilled employees helped craft a satisfactory agreement for all parties.

All employees received a healthy 3% increase. Techs have returned to hourly pay, but with the potential to realize $33.00 hour, an increase of over 8% that brings them into parity with other Unionized dealerships in the city….quite a turn around! Payments for courses completed at home, the addition of Family Day and the creation of a Lube Tech classification round out the three year deal. Wage increases in the second and third year will be by the cost of living increase for British Columbia.

Members are pleased to have three years of certainty as Harris Victoria Chrysler grows back it business.

 

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