Thursday March 14, 2019
For Immediate Release
Nanaimo, BC – Workers at the British Columbia Vehicle Processing Centre have joined the IAM and ratified their first collective agreement.
The BC Vehicle Processing Centre opened in January and processes Mercedes Benz vehicles to bring them up to Canadian standards before they go to dealerships on Vancouver Island, the lower mainland and Western Canada. “The developers of the facility wanted a union and we quickly signed up the workers,” explained IAM District Lodge 250 Business Representative John Humphrey. “This facility has tremendous growth potential with 40 to 60 new jobs in the short term and up to more than a hundred in the coming years and that’s good news for our membership.”
The facility currently processes Mercedes vehicles only, with four hundred vehicles per ship and two ships per month. The first phase of the development of this facility suggests processing 10-12 thousand vehicles annually. The second phase could see that expand to 40,000 vehicles annually by 2024. The plan is to include all makes of vehicles in the future.
“This is a facility where vehicles go in and are taken from being the standard –manufactured European vehicle to becoming a Canadian vehicle. Any of the work required on a vehicle to make it Canadian occurs within the facility,” explained Humphrey.
The new facility coincided with the widening of the Panama Canal. Until now, European manufacturers with vehicles slated for markets across Canada, were only able to land their product in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This required their vehicles to be then shipped by rail or auto transport to Canadian destinations. The multiple loading and unloading was time consuming, expensive and left vehicles prone to damage. The widening of the Panama Canal allows for larger vehicle transport ships to reach west coast ports like Nanaimo.
The newest members of IAM Local Lodge 692 consist of inspectors, lead technician, technicians, wash attendants, lot attendants and lead lot attendants.
The three-year agreement provides starting wages of $18 to $36 per hour in the first year and wage increases of 2 per cent in the second and third year respectively. The members are automatically entered into the IAM Local Lodge 692 pension plan with a 5 per cent contribution in the first year, 6 per cent in the second year and 7 per cent in the third year.
The IAM is the largest auto sector union in British Columbia.
For further information:
John Humphrey – IAM District Lodge 250 Business Representative
Bill Trbovich – IAM Director of Communications