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.
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.
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.
In spite of this competition, Alliance Engineering, valuing the skills of the Members, still agreed to increases and improvements.
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
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
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.
The annual Labour Day Picnic was held by the Nanaimo, Duncan and District Labour Council on September 3, 2013. New Democrat MLAs Lenard Krog, Bill Routley and Doug Routley and MP Jean Crowder attended, each making a few short remarks saluting the Unions gathered.
For the first time, the Machinists Union had a table display. Chief Shop Steward John Humphrey from Inland Kenworth (LL1857), arranged for the table to be manned. Featured was information about the IAM and our newsletter, Northwest News. Shirts were given away in a draw and the usual swag, including our excellent pencils c/w clips.
The table was not the only contribution made by Machinists. Two members of unioNation™ came to share some of the original songs written by Machinists. Brother Brad Seefried brought two other members of his band Mine Town to perform his songs ‘Little Penguins’ and ‘I AM a Workingman’. BR Alastair Haythornthwaite performed ‘Sleeping Giant’ and a new song about the founders of our Union ‘Ride, Boomers, Ride’. Their efforts were well received.
Volunteers served hot dogs and fried onion to the crowd while an antique and muscle car show by ILWU rounded out the day’s attractions.
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.