Mandatory overtime issues addressed in ratified contract at Cargill Watson
On June 11, 2017, the 450 Members of Local 175 at Cargill Watson in Guelph secured a new four-year collective agreement following a difficult set of negotiations.
Leading up to this round of bargaining, the Members at the plant had been mandated to work an exorbitant number of weekends per year in addition to every long weekend over the last four years and were adamant this had to change. The employees had no quality of life and were seldom able to spend time with their families or enjoy long weekends with family. They were exhausted and suffered from more frequent injuries.
“The diligence of the negotiating committee paid off. They required the employer to address the issue at the table and they made some great progress with this contract,” said Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty. “The committee recommended ratification of the agreement to the bargaining unit members.”
The new language and letter of understanding negotiated provides limits on how many weekends the employer can schedule employees to work during the summer and the number of weekends employees may be scheduled to work when a Statutory holiday falls on a weekend. The agreement also contains a minimum guarantee of either two or three consecutive days off on weekends when a Statutory holiday occurs. Finally, the new language caps how many weekends an employee can be mandated to work so that Members have time off to spend with their families.
Wages increase by 30 cents per hour in each year of the contract term. The first increase is retroactive for hours worked since January 1, 2017. In addition, Members receive a $200 signing bonus and Maintenance employees receive an additional $2 wage adjustment also retroactive to January 1, 2017. Lead Hands receive an additional 40 cents per hour as well.
Benefits improve to provide $400 per year for Physiotherapy and $1,000 per 24-month period for Family Vision Care. The weekly Short-Term Disability (STD) payments increase to $525. New language allows employees to cancel their vacation if they become ill and receive STD benefits instead. Upon their Return to Work they may reschedule their vacation.
Union Negotiating Committee: Chris Davis, Art Gier, Lori Hamilton, Guy Morissette, Dale Rowbotham, Union Rep Sam Caetano, and Region 6 Director Rob Nicholas.