NORTH BAY, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 20, 2014) - "Our members have the right to know the direction this corporation is taking," said IAM Grand Lodge Representative Gary Hynes.
Hynes made the comment in the wake of a new four-year collective agreement between IAM Local Lodge 2922 and PGI Fabrene. "I made it very clear to Fabrene Management that the lines of communication between the Company and the unionized workers must be open and improved," said Hynes.
The two most contentious issues for the membership were time off and training. "The plant is running so lean right now that requests for time off are problematic," said Hynes. "If more people were properly trained, backfilling requests for time off wouldn't be an issue. But our members have to take some ownership of this problem too, some of them are quite comfortable in their current positions and they have declined the opportunity for training and subsequent upgrades." Hynes added, "Part of this agreement is a letter of understanding that both sides will work to rectify the problem during the life of the agreement."
The agreement provides a wage increase in the first year of 1 per cent along with a pension increase of .25 per cent, and wage increases of 2 per cent in the second year, 2.25 per cent in the third year and 2.50 per cent in the fourth year. Other agreement highlights include:
- Significant language changes regarding seniority, layoff, recalls and job postings
- Improved long-term disability benefits
- Retention of short-term disability benefits
"This was a tough set of negotiations and it's very hard to get the membership onside when they have no idea of the future direction of the company," said Hynes. "This new commitment to resolve the time off/training issue is a crucial first step in improving working conditions and employee relations here."
The 185 members manufacture house wrap, shelter fabrics, roofing membranes and specialty items for the construction and agricultural industries.