Montreal – November 16, 2020 – After a difficult bargaining process requiring roughly thirty meetings, hundreds of UFCW Local 501 members working at the Metro Mérite I warehouse in the Rivière-des-Prairies area of Montreal have achieved a new union contract that provides wage increases, a signing bonus, and more.
The four-year, retroactive collective agreement provides wage increases of 3.5 percent for 2019 and 2 percent for 2020, 2021, and 2022, offered to all staff working as order handlers, forklift operators, and loading and receiving employees. Below are some additional highlights of the new contract, which runs until the fall of 2023:
- Elimination of the first two levels in all job categories. All employees in progression move up two levels.
- All employees will receive a signing bonus: $500 for regular employees and $0.25 per hour worked in the fifty-two complete weeks prior to the signing of the collective agreement for part-time and casual employees.
- Increase in the amount of earnings that can be contributed to the RRSP of any employee who requests it.
- Part-time employees can now get a second pair of safety boots.
- If the employer proceeds with automation at the distribution centre, the employer agrees to meet with the union on a special labour relations committee to discuss the project and its impacts. The mission of this committee will be to ensure that the collective agreement is enforced.
- The employer commits to creating ten new regular night shift relief warehouse attendant positions.
Work relations, ergonomics, health and safety at work
- The employer agrees to participate in labour relations committee meetings on a monthly basis.
- Creation of a continuous improvement committee whose mission will be to ensure the management of any changes that may be made in the work organization and to monitor the changes.
- Possibility for up to twenty-five part-time employees to provide limited availability as relief staff on evening and night shifts.
- Introduction of fixed schedules for evening and night shifts for some part-time employees working in the warehousing area.
Voluntary termination of employment and retirement
- There will be a voluntary termination of employment program between February 14, 2021 and March 11, 2023 for a maximum of sixteen regular employees. This program will consist of $1,000 per year of seniority for the first 15 years and $1,300 for each additional year of seniority. Added to this is a lump sum payment equivalent to four weeks’ salary.
- Employees who wish to do so may ask the employer to pay part or all of the severance pay in the form of a retirement allowance (RRSP).
‘‘The Metro Mérite I distribution centre employees continue to improve their work environment while keeping gains achieved in the past. We are proud that they trust us to represent them in the workplace. Congratulations to all those who were at the bargaining table on a job well done,” says UFCW Local 501 President Alain Lachaîne.
UFCW Local 501 represents over 19,000 members at more than 410 companies across Quebec and northern New Brunswick. To learn more about UFCW Local 501 and its outstanding work, visit the Local Union’s website.
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