Hornby Island, B.C. – May 1, 2017 – Solidarity isn’t just for picket lines, something UFCW Canada Local 1518 members at Hornby Island Co-op discovered in their latest round of bargaining. The recently ratified contract for the members at Hornby Island relied upon Ucluelet Co-op’s contract for cross classification language. It also drew support from Port Alberni Co-op’s collective agreement for the newly added sunset clause for discipline.
“The fact that other co-ops are unionized helps them pull each other up,” says Ashley Campbell, Union Representative for UFCW 1518. “The collective agreements get stronger with each set of negotiations, and members’ lives improve as a result,” she adds.
The inclusion of cross classification language was important, Ashley says, because it enables members to pick up hours by seniority in other departments if their hours are lacking. “It allows members to work as many hours as they want or need; it also means they can move up the wage scale faster and receive benefits sooner,” says Sister Campbell.
The four-year contract brings a wage increase of two percent each year, retroactive to the date of expiry. It also includes 50-50 cost sharing for benefit coverage for dependents, where before dependents had no coverage. Members also received a $100 signing bonus.
The Hornby Island Co-op, which began serving the island as a general store in 1955, is owned and controlled by its members. Like other cooperatives, it exists for the benefit of the people who own it, not for private gain. This is why the collective agreement contains a profit-sharing clause, which is triggered in years when the co-op is profitable.
Campbell credits the bargaining committee, made up of Joanne Ovitsland and Sue Horner, with keeping negotiations focused on members’ concerns and needs – including those of junior staff and future employees. “They were really great – super experienced and realistic. They got us through negotiations,” she says.