The Union was scheduled to meet with Purolator July 18 to 20. It was our intention to try and reach a deal by the end of the session. Regrettably, it was a frustrating session and despite our best efforts to conclude an agreement with the Company we were unable to do so.
Some of the Items discussed included mental health in the workplace, discipline, bereavement leave, displacement provisions, hours of work and harassment. At the mid-point of bargaining we believed discussions had advanced to the point of reaching a settlement and we bargained to the early hours of July 20 before talks went sideways.
On the one hand, we made significant progress in narrowing issues down and membership priorities were clear to the Company. Proposals that dealt with personal leave, pension improvements, shift premiums and fair economic increases were presented and discussed.
The Company countered with a five-year deal, and 1% increases in only three of the five years. Further they proposed “cost containment” measures to the current health benefits you receive. Apparently, the Company is quite concerned about benefit fraud, although when pressed, could not point to this being a problem for our small group of workers.
The Union team is quite concerned about the position the Company has taken with regards to wages and benefits.
It appears they are trading one set of concessions for another.
The Company has withdrawn their proposal to remove the Retirement Allowance, yet is now proposing an inferior wage package and regressive benefit provisions, those benefits are there for when workers are at their most vulnerable.
We continue to hold that fair wages, decent benefits, and the removal of the arbitrary Long Term Disability Cap (LTD) are worth fighting for.
The monetary proposal alone does not even come close to meeting inflation and their proposal puts workers behind the cost of living. The LTD plan is based on 60% of earnings and has a cap that can in some cases reduce members to below poverty income as the benefit can end up being less than 50% income replacement.
We are exploring our options going forward, and we invited the Company to consider bringing in a mediator to assist in bargaining as their proposal simply put is unacceptable. We have yet to hear back from the Company. We hope to resume bargaining early fall and once we have established dates we will let you know.