6,500 Members at Metro ratify new agreement
Following meetings that took place across Ontario on May 24, the Members of UFCW Locals 175 & 633 at 54 Metro stores in the province have ratified a new collective agreement.
This difficult round of bargaining included the use of a Conciliation Officer, a 97% strike mandate from the membership, and a strike deadline of May 12, 2018 at 12:01 a.m.
“The negotiating committee and the Members were solid throughout this process,” said President Haggerty. “This was a tough set of bargaining. But the Members’ resolve and strong strike mandate allowed their committee to push forward and achieve this contract.”
The Equal Pay for Equal Work legislation passed by the provincial government introduced a number of hurdles into these negotiations. While the laws are positive for workers, the Union and employer disagree with the interpretation of how they apply to the Members based on employment status. Despite expert guidance and legal advice sought by both parties, no agreement could be made.
Since the law is so new, there is currently no applicable jurisprudence or regulations to help resolve the issue. The Union Negotiating Committee wanted to proceed with an otherwise agreed-upon contract settlement, and elected to have the Equal Pay for Equal Work matter referred to mediation/arbitration to achieve a resolution for the Membership. The Union now has a clear path to advance the concerns of the Members before an arbitrator to get the right answers on the application of this new legislation.
The ratified agreement, which will see Members through to November 2021, contains the following improvements.
- All full-time employees at end rate receive two lump sums this year totalling $5,000. In addition, they receive a rate increase of 40 cents per hour in years three and four of the contract.
- Part-time employees hired before 1997 receive two lump sums this year totalling $2,500. They will see a rate increase of 40 cents per hour in years three and four of the contract term as well.
- Part-time employees at end rate, who were hired between 1997 and March 25, 2012, receive a lump sum of $1,250 as of ratification. They also receive any minimum wage increases and pending Consumer Price Index (CPI) increases for 2020 and 2021.
- If a new provincial government repeals the $15 minimum wage and CPI increases, the Union negotiated a clause to provide these part-time members with an additional $1,250 lump sum in lieu plus a rate increase of 40 cents per hour in years three and four.
- Part-time employees hired after March 25, 2012 now have a new wage grid to ensure rates stay ahead of any minimum wage increases. In addition, when the minimum wage increases along with CPI, rates of pay will improve to reflect both increases. Of these employees, effective the date of ratification, those at the end rate receive a lump sum of $350 as of ratification plus a 40 cents per hour increase.
- All employees receive increased eye exam coverage of $50, up from $40, and increased vision care coverage of $225, up from $200.
- All employees will receive a drug card that can be used at any pharmacy.
- Full-time employees hired after March 25, 2012 have improved Long-Term Disability pay of up to $1,625 per month, up from $1,500. Short-Term Disability (STD) improves to over the course of the agreement to reach a maximum rate of $520 effective November, 2020.
- Part-time employees hired after March 25, 2012, who have three continuous years of service and who work at least 600 hours per calendar year, now receive a new benefit of up to $300 in any 36-month period to cover Orthopedic Shoes and Podiatric Orthosis or Arch Supports for the employee.
- The Extended Care Plan maximum of $10,000 now applies every 24 months instead of every 36 months. This applies to part-time employees hired after March 25, 2012.
- Stores with a full-service Seafood Department will now have to have a Seafood Department Head. Previously, the employer only needed to have a Department Head if seafood sales exceeded $7,000 per week.
- New language allows employees to make Sunday part of their regular work week voluntarily. In doing this, they also maintain any premiums that applied previously. This is significant for a number of employees who were hired after October 5, 2003 and who work in smaller departments, such as Meat Cutters. Before this language, these employees often worked their five-day work week and were then forced to work a sixth day on a regular basis. These employees can now elect to have Sunday form part of their regular week. This will allow them to have a regular five-day week again.
- The employer will recognize the provincial two paid personal emergency leave days as incremental days. This means that emergency leave days will not be deducted from existing sick day entitlement for the duration of the agreement.
- The employer will provide benefits to full-time employees who are at least 55 years old, and who elect early retirement under the pension plan during the term of the agreement. This will consist of vision, medical, and drug benefits, and includes spouse and dependent benefits as well. This coverage will continue until the employee reaches 65 years of age.
Union Negotiating Committee:
- Cindy Carruthers, Rick Alagierski, Colleen Cox, Ronald Harrison, Dale Stuart, Tim Brennan, Doris Arpe, Tony Morello, and Penny Lorenz.
- Servicing Rep Tim Kelly, and Region 4 Director Chris Fuller.
- Executive Assistant Sylvia Groom
- Local 633 Secretary-Treasurer Marylou Mallett, and Local 633 President May Chalmers.
- Local 175 Secretary-Treasurer Kelly Tosato, and Local 175 President Shawn Haggerty.