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.
Some politicians are floating the idea of Right To Work (For Less) in Canada. This pernicious American idea says people do not have to pay Union dues but still get all the benefits of the Collective Agreement and representation by and at the expense of the Union. In the States the Machinists call them ‘Free Riders’.
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.
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.
Technician John Ryper works on another vehicle in this truck orientated community of Port Alberni
Painter Brent Maxwell makes everything shiny.
Technician Larry Hovind refurbishes the brakes on another pickup truck
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.
Union Members at Brown Bros. Ford in Vancouver BC have a new three year agreement. The agreement includes a 2% increase in each year. When compared to a Consumer Price Index for Vancouver in November 2012 of 0.2%, this is a substantial increase.
(l to r) Al Parayno and Gearge Ng
The right of our Members to have a Shop Steward present at any meeting which may lead to discipline further strengthens their rights and protections under the Collective Agreement.
Members will now enjoy an 11th statutory holiday on Family Day in February.
Karen Frig, Shop Steward
Taken together, the substantial real increase above inflation, a new holiday and the strengthened member protection further strengthen what was a first class contract.