Members at Bunge Canada in Hamilton achieve new agreement
The newly ratified agreement for members at Bunge Canada in Hamilton contains a number of improvements.
This includes improved language that provides all employees on probation with eight hours’ pay for all Statutory holidays. Employees who are at least 57 years old, instead of the previous 60 years old, now have the right to refuse to be placed on the call-in system. The number of Millwrights in rotation to carry the on-call cell phone increases to eight, up from six. In addition, the Chief Steward and Plant Chair will now have a dedicated email for all discipline, termination, and notices from the employer.
All members receive a lump sum payment of $750 within three weeks of ratification. Second-class Boiler Operators receive a raise of $2 per hour in the first year. Also in the first year, employees classified as Maintenance (1), Millwrights, Steamfitters, Electricians, and Industrial Instruments will see a raise of $1 per hour. Maintenance (1), Millwrights and Steamfitters will receive an additional increase of 25 cents per hour in year three.
In addition to these increases, all rates will improve by 2.75% in year one, 2.5% in year two, and 2.25% in year three.
Plus, shift premiums go up by 10 cents per hour. Lastly, tool allowances will increase by $120 per year, to a rate of $300, for CEO Department, Maintenance, and Boiler Operators.
The workers’ current pension plan improves to reach a rate of $45 per hour worked by the third year of the agreement term. The employer had proposed to withdraw all employees from their Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Plan and have them enrolled in a Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Plan instead. The employer’s argument was that the existing plan was too expensive and that all of the other Bunge plants have changed to the DC Plan. The Union Negotiating Committee fought to keep the existing plan and were able to achieve this for current employees. Going forward, however, all new employees will become participants in the DC Plan.
In terms of health and welfare, employees will benefit from increased vision care coverage of $300. Life insurance will improve to $90,000, up from $75,000. The Dental Plan will cover up to $2,000 maximum per year, and will update to align with the current Ontario Dental Association (ODA) fee schedules in March of each year.
Employees will see an increase to their sick pay effective November 2, 2019. Subsequent improvements will happen in November of years two and three of the contract term as well.
Lastly, bereavement entitlement improves to provide leave for the death of:
- an employee’s child’s spouse,
- foster parents,
- step-children and foster children, and;
- step-grandparents and step-grandchildren.
Union members ratified the new agreement on November 6, 2019. The contract covers 73 full-time employees at the Bunge Canada plant in Hamilton.
Union Negotiating Committee: Jeff Lang, Dennis Packham, Rob Schroc, Chuck Smith, and Union Rep Lionel MacEachern.
Catch up on all the negotiation highlights from across the province here.
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