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
The results of the IAM’s first national face-to-face survey indicate that, no matter where they live in Canada, IAM members share the same views about their union. Over two-thirds of the members surveyed said that they wanted the IAM to go beyond the basics of collective bargaining and membership protection and be active in their communities.
“In the next 18 months, Canadians will be participating in federal and provincial elections that will be crucial for the futures of Canadian working families, said GVP Ritchie. “In unions, we are facing the fight of our lives. I am greatly encouraged by our members’ support. We will continue our program of active member engagement.”
General Vice President for Canada, Dave Ritchie
Nine out of ten IAM members believe that strong unions are good for Canada. 91% said that members who receive the benefits and protections of a union contract should be required to pay dues (known as the “Rand Formula”).
This survey followed the IAM Canadian Political Action Conference in March, 2013, which called for a return to face-to-face engagement with our members.
IAM Canadian Vice President Dave Ritchie welcomed the response to the survey. “Our members understand that unions are the only force in Canada capable of facing up to corporate greed. That is why unions are under attack by the corporate bosses and their captive politicians.” Ritchie added, “We need to strengthen unions to reverse the growing unfairness and inequality in our society.”
IAM members endorsed the active role taken by the union in a number of public policy proposals that will help IAM members and their families, including:
A doubling of the Canada/Quebec Pension Plan retirement benefits
A national insurance scheme to protect earned pensions from employer bankruptcies
A reversal of the federal Conservatives’ plan to move the age of eligibility for Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement benefits from age 65 to 67
Labour Law and Labour Standards
The freedom for workers to organize unions without employer bullying and intimidation, with “card-check” certifications and severe penalties for employer anti-union actions
An end to one-sided government intervention in collective bargaining on the side of management, through phony “essential services”, strike-busting and the imposition of biased arbitration settlements
Preservation of the Rand Formula, so that everyone with union benefits and protections pay their fair share
An end to the attack on union capacities through costly and wasteful reporting requirements, as in the Harper Conservatives’ Bill C-377
A minimum wage that provides a decent standard of living for all Canadian working families
Health and Safety
A joint workplace health and safety system, based on the precautionary principle, with a right to refuse unsafe work
An end to deregulation and privatization of workplace health and safety
A system that offers all workers across Canada real income security in the face of job loss, after past federal governments have stolen $56 billion of worker and employer contributions the unemployment insurance fund
A reversal of the unfair and wasteful growth of for-profit medicine
A national universal public pharmacare program
Other Areas of Direct Concern to IAM Members and their Families: jobs and the economy, air transport and aerospace, public services, the environment