Members at Island (Peter Baljet) Chevrolet Have Signed Collective Agreement

On April 17th, 2015, the Collective Agreement was signed by management and the Bargaining Committee, the final step in a year long push by Partspersons, Service Advisors and Technicians, working at Island (ex-Peter Baljet) Chevrolet in Duncan, to join the Machinists Union and negotiate a First Agreement.

Group solidarity is something every union strives for when organizing workers and negotiating their first collective agreement. The IAM has that and more with the new members at Peter Baljet Chevrolet – Buick – GMC on Vancouver Island.

“This group was solid all the way through the organizing drive but they really showed their determination during negotiations for their first collective agreement,” said IAM District 250 Directing Business Representative Walter Gerlach. “They turned down the first two offers and with the last issue; they wouldn’t sign until the employer dropped his demand to pay parts personnel at a lower rate than everyone else. They really looked out for one another.”

The two year agreement provides wage increases of 3 per cent in the first year retroactive to February 15, 2015 and 2.25 per cent in the second year. Other agreement highlights include:

  • IAM Local Lodge 692 pension plan
  • Time and a half overtime paid for at home web-based training
  • The addition of Hourly Pay with Flat Rate Bonus

The 20 auto technicians, parts personnel and service advisors are members of IAM Local Lodge 456. Peter Baljet Chevrolet-Buick-GMC joins more than 25 auto dealerships represented by the IAM on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland of British Columbia.

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The “Real” Economy Verses the “Paper” Economy and Our Pensions

Jim Stanford

Jim Stanford

Participants in the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans’ 47th Annual Canadian conference had a chance to listen to a keynote address by Jim Stanford, Unifor’s economist. Jim addresses the split between the Real Economy which produces useful goods and services and the Paper Economy which creates, sells and buys financial assets and the impact this has on the viability of our Pensions.

Jim drew attention to the Financialization of the Canadian and World economies. Quoting a definition for Financialization from G. Epstein, “Increasing importance of financial markets, financial institutions and financial elites in the operation of the economy and its governing institutions”, Jim characterized it as the over development and over importance of the financial sector (the “paper economy”) relative to the real economy.

real and paper

In the Paper Economy, the Stock Market sets values separate from need and use, whereas in the Real Economy a brewery produces product which have value and fills a real need.

Jim regretted that our pre-funded Pensions have contributed to the Financialization trend, creating a culture of stock marketing and assessing financial risks. This runs counter to the real economics of pensions. Future pensions will have to be paid out of real future production, not the paper of stocks and bonds.

The Myth of the Apple Tree

apples and paper

Financial apples and apples are not the same thing

Financial accumulation is not about “saving real apples”, Jim continued. In fact the reality is, financial markets hurt real growth. Countries with less Financialization invest and grow faster because money goes to real projects that make things rather than the moribund corporations in Canada which accumulate cash in the form of “dead money”. Money held but not used in the economy. Financialization does nothing to increase future apple production which will be shared between working and retired workers. In fact, financialization probably actually reduces future growth of production.

Looking at the three legs of retirement income in Canada, Jim noted the performance of Old Age Security (OAS), the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and private and workplace plans and savings. Neither the OAS nor the CPP use financial institutions to manage their funds, both are reliable and give strong performance, unlike our RRSPs, which are controlled by financial institutions and have poor performance and are extremely volatile with wild swings in value.

For the future, Jim recommends concentrating on future growth of the Real Economy which will be shared by retirees and workers. Public plans (OAS and CCP) must be protected and expanded by public pressure. As for the third leg, we must do what we can to focus on efficiency and security. Pension Plans can and will play a role but RRSPs need to be replaced with something more secure and efficient.

The Collective Approach

By pooling risk and using good management, higher returns and lower fees make a substantial difference in the size of pensions paid than when financial institutions are extracting profits from retirement savings. The CPP is the best Defined Benefit program in the country and should be expanded but the financial institutions and business lobby groups would like to see it eliminated. Private sector employers feel no obligation to provide Pensions unless Unions put them forward in bargaining. West Jet has no pension for its employees, even though it earned over $260 million in 2013. This pressures Air Canada who does have Pension to cut or eliminate them just to compete.

Jim is clear that defending and expanding Public Pensions is primary, but we must be looking to expand the Real Economy so there will be increased resources to share in the years to come.

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Machinists at Alliance Engineering Ratify New Three Year Agreement

alliance mark cropped sm

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

alliance 2 cropped sm

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Plan Now for 2013 Retirees Conference

source: http://www.goiam.org/index.php/imail/latest/11705-plan-now-for-2013-retirees-conference-
retireebanquet2012

Attendees of the 2012 Regional Retirees Conference in Atlantic City, NJ.

Are you ready to have fun with IAM Brothers and Sisters and safeguard hard-won union benefits?  If so, join us for the 2013 Retirees Conference at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel. In the past, an average of 750 Brothers and Sisters have gathered to reminisce and strategize essential topics such as Medicare, Social Security, organizing, mentoring and other important issues for workers and retirees alike. The conference will begin on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 at 2 PM and end on Thursday, November 21, 2013 with a dinner banquet.  Live music will be provided by our union brothers and sisters at the banquet. A small registration fee will entitle you to conference material, two breakfasts and the banquet. We have negotiated an excellent hotel rate.  For more information, click here for the call letter and here for the registration form and hotel information. Please share this information with any retirees who may be interested.  However, you don’t have to be a retiree to attend the conference; officers and current members are more than welcome to attend, as well.

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Members at Pacific Chevrolet in Port Alberni Have New Three Year Agreement

remodelling store

The store is remodelled after the name change

tech (3)

Technician Horst Krupek works on a pickup truck

Jack Schut, Partsman and Shop Steward

Pacific Chevrolet (formerly Dennis Jonsson Motor Products) in Port Alberni has a signed agreement. A three year deal, there are yearly increase of 1%, 1% and 1.5%. With inflation currently around ½%, this represents a real increase in income. The Members are splitting the increase between wages and pension. They are in the IAM national pension plan.

tech

Technician John Ryper works on another vehicle in this truck orientated community of Port Alberni

painter

Painter Brent Maxwell makes everything shiny.

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Technician Larry Hovind refurbishes the brakes on another pickup truck

Chris Norris Partsman

Partsman Chris Norris handles the customer side of the Parts business

Trade school pay was brought in line with the Supplementary Unemployment Benefits programme, allowing the topping up of wages to 95% without any EI clawback.

Family Day was added to statutory holidays bring the total to 11.

A few language adjustment round out this package. For Port Alberni, where the Pulp Mill workers agreed to a 10% rollback and the local economy is devastated, this is a solid agreement.

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