Weetabix bringing 13 million pounds more production to Cobourg

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July 17, 2018

On June 10, 2018, the more than 110 members at the Weetabix plant in Cobourg secured a new agreement.

This deal will see Weetabix members through a planned expansion to bring in about 13 million pounds more cereal production to the facility.

Currently, the set up at the plant includes low volumes of a number of different products. This is inefficient and requires a lot of set up and cleaning. Going forward, however, the plant will run 24/7 with the increased production. As a result of the planned volume increase, a number of significant classification changes took place in the contract. Some jobs were eliminated to make room for others. And, some employees will now have to rotate on continental shifts whereas before they could have worked straight days. The contract includes house continental shifts, with a five-day schedule forming an addendum to the agreement.

The new contract contains 30 exit packages. These packages are available to the 30 most senior employees who wish to leave. The payout is $15,000.

The five-year deal contains a $1,000 signing bonus for all employees. All workers will receive a lump sum payment of $1,000 in years one through three, and rates will increase by 2% in years four and five. New higher-paying classifications include Lead Ops and Line Specialist. The committee was also able to maintain the current weekly pay schedule. Employees working 36 hours one week and 48 the next week, will receive four and a half hours overtime pay. Pension contributions will continue to be paid for all hours, including vacation and statutory holidays.

The company proposed a new 70/30 co-pay for employee benefits to mitigate some cost-savings in order to increase the production volume. Through negotiations, the committee achieved an 80/20 split for existing employees until 2021. The Union’s negotiating committee successfully maintained the employer-paid Long-Term Disability (LTD) benefit. Also, the committee achieved non-preferred drug coverage list at 80% paid instead of 70% paid. Any current employees on non-preferred will be grandfathered at 100% coverage until June 2019. This will allow time for them to discuss preferred drug options. The preferred drug list will be paid at 100%. There will be no cap on medical services or drug coverage, and employees still receive massage therapy coverage as well. In addition, dental benefits will continue on the current fee guide instead of an employer-proposed one-year lag.

“We know this contract presents some challenges,” said Union Rep Paul Hardwick. “But, with the help of such experienced wise committee members, we were able to achieve a good deal for the Members at Weetabix that will help secure the future of this plant and the jobs in this community.”

Union Negotiating Committee: Ken Barlow, Pat McIvor, and Union Rep Paul Hardwick

Weetabix UFCW 175 Members vote on a contract.Weetabix UFCW 175 Members vote on a contract

Check out some more recent negotiations updates for the Union Members at UFCW Locals 175 & 633.

Find out why more workers in the food processing industry are joining UFCW Local 175.