In this issue:
There are few Canadians whose lives have not been touched, in some way, by the devastating effects of substance abuse. Fewer still are unaware of the repercussions of the problem, in the workplace, and society in general (see “Facts on File”, below).
George Chuvalo, former Canadian Heavyweight Boxing Champion, knows better than most, due to the personal tragedies in his own family caused by substance abuse – three of his sons and his wife all lost their lives. Never one to be knocked down, however, George fought back and turned his loss into a positive fight for others. Twice his national tour has been sponsored by UFCW Canada, through the efforts of the national office, the Canadian Council, and several local unions.
Most recently, George made his first visit to a native community in eastern Canada, speaking to the young people of Indian Brook NS in March. The visit was sponsored by UFCW Canada Local 864 (whose president, Bruce Durno, lives nearby), Larsen’s Meat Packers, and the Shubenacadie Band Council. Band elder Dee Marr, helped establish the Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselling Association (NADACA) about 30 years ago, the group that helped arrange the visit. A former amateur boxer himself, he’s still a big fan of the former champ. His daughter, Vera Marr, who took the photo, says it was the older people who were moved most by George’s talk. “The kids are used to people talking at them,” she says. “But I think they could tell George was different and for real. I hope his message will really hit home once they get a chance to talk about it with their friends.”
This kind of outreach to the community at large has become almost routine for many UFCW Canada local unions, and the benefits are great. Whether through community involvement in fundraising for leukemia research, or education and apprenticeship programs for the less privileged such as those developed by Local 2000 in British Columbia, UFCW Canada members can take pride in their union as they make a difference in their communities.
Members of UFCW Canada Local 318W employed by Molson Breweries in Regina have voted 78% in favour of a closure agreement that provides additional benefits beyond those in the current collective agreement.
“This is a big improvement,” says UFCW Canada Director Michael Fraser. “Legally, Molson could have attempted to rely on the existing severance provisions, but instead we have been able to negotiate a closure agreement with significant enhancements.”
Under the agreement, ratified on June 16, members receive one year’s pay plus additional severance based on years of service. Most will receive a $1000 signing bonus. Benefits will continue for six months after the March 31, 2002 plant closure, and the beer allowance will be continued for 12 months.
There is an early departure option for those who find new jobs prior to closure, as well as early retirement bridging for those who reach age 50 before closure. Molson has agreed to transfer 18 of the 80 members to its Edmonton plant and pay a relocation allowance of $15,000 per worker. The local is working with the company to find jobs for the remainder of the workforce. The agreement also includes the brewery industry’s first-ever severance for certain temporary workers.
More: Paul Meinema, UFCW Canada, Saskatoon
UFCW Canada Local 832 members who work at the La Salle Hotel in Elmwood MB voted in favour of a new contract in early June. Members will receive wage increases ranging from 3.1-13%, with bonus increases from 10-25 cents per hour worked. The employer has agreed to pay 50% of the cost of a Blue Cross plan, and there are improvements in language as well as payment for Manitoba Liquor Control Commission training.
More: Don Keith, UFCW Canada Local 832, www.ufcw832.mb.ca
Members of UFCW Canada Local 1400 in Yorkton SK have reached a new three-year agreement with the Travelodge hotel. The 43 members there voted 90% in favour of the contract, retoractive to January 1, 2001. The agreement contains increases ranging from 2.25-3% each year, along with improvements in language and benefits, including an extension of parenting leave.
UFCW Canada Local 1400 President Brian Stewart notes that, in addition to avoiding the employer’s demands for concessions, it was the first time a new contract was negotiated at that bargaining unit without the need for a strike vote.
Don Logan, UFCW Canada Local 1400
UFCW Canada Local 478T members at St. Lawrence-Caldwell in Iroquois ON ended their strike on June 18 with the ratification of a one-year agreement that held the line against employer demands for wage concessions. The ratification vote was just 51.7% in favour.
“This gives us a year’s breathing space to find some solutions,” says UFCW Canada national representative Pierre Jean Olivier. “We’re working with the employer to find new sources of financing and protect members’ jobs. In a year, we expect the business to be on a sounder financial footing, and in a position to increase pay and benefits for our members.”
More: Pierre Jean Olivier, UFCW Canada, Montréal
UFCW Canada Local 1518 in British Columbia has added $2000 to its pension plan after reaching a settlement with employer Safeway over the issue of using service clerks outside their classification. A memorandum of agreement has been signed with the company to address the issue in future.
Meanwhile, the local has also recently reached an agreement with Overwaitea regarding in-store promotion displays. Outside salespeople will be permitted to design and decorate displays, but won’t stock them. Instead, they will show bargaining-unit members how and where to place product.
More: Tom Fawkes or Andy Neufeld, UFCW Canada Local 1518, www.ufcw1518.com
More than 150 delegates from UFCW Canada locals and national office gathered in Saskatoon in early June for the first combined conference of the red meat and flour milling industries, along with the annual meeting of the UFCW National Defence Fund.
Locals shared reports on grievances, layoffs, insurance benefit changes or problems, and other issues affecting their plants and collective agreements. Guest speakers included UFCW Canada Director Michael Fraser, and Howie Foreman, UFCW international research director, who made a presentation on the need for outreach to diverse ethnic groups in these industries.
In addition to the working sessions of the two-day conference, delegates and families were entertained at a western ranch in St. Denis SK, where activities including a shooting gallery and jail fines generated almost $5000 for leukemia research.
More: Bryan Neath, UFCW Canada
The following change to the UFCW Canada national staff has been announced since the last report:
Retiring: Dave Johnson, national representative, Newfoundland (effective July 1)
Source: Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse, 1992-1999
Additional data available in PDF version