Wednesday December 9, 2015
For Immediate Release
Corner Brook, NL – The road for representation for the workers at Western Toyota began in February of this year. It culminated in November with a first agreement for the 17 newest members of IAM Local Lodge 544.
When the employer received notice of the organizing drive by the IAM, three mechanics were fired and the pay structure was changed. Four labour board charges soon followed from the IAM and a vote was ordered by the board on March 24, 2015.
“The employer also owns a Mazda and Kia dealerships and appealed to the board that all three should come under the same certification,” explained IAM Grand Lodge Representative Rick Arsenault. “Although we objected, all three dealerships were allowed to vote. The votes were separated pending the Labour Board ruling on which dealership or dealerships would fall under the certification. While this was going on, we won our charges regarding the employees who were fired and all of them were reinstated.”
In early June, the board awarded the IAM with the certification for Western Toyota, the unit the IAM had applied for. Bargaining for the first collective agreement began in August and ran through September. Under the Newfoundland Labour Relations Act for a first agreement, if an agreement cannot be reached within 60 days of giving notice, the Board will assign a conciliator to the file. “A conciliator was appointed in October and 95 per cent of an agreement was finalized,” explained Arsenault. “When we couldn’t get the deal completed we applied for conciliation in order to put us in a legal strike position. A conciliator was assigned and we had our first agreement in November and the members ratified it November 19, 2015.”
The three-year agreement provides wage increases in the first year ranging from 3 to 14 per cent, 3 per cent in the second year and 3 per cent in the third year. Other agreement highlights include seniority rights, grievance rights and a pension plan.
“This was not an easy process and I want to thank my initial contacts Jim Penny and Gary French for sitting on the negotiating committee and keeping the guys strong and united,”said Arsenault.
“These members faced firings, employer interference and every trick the employer could think during negotiations but they never wavered.”
For further information:
Rick Arsenault – IAM Grand Lodge Representative
Bill Trbovich –IAM Director of Communications
416-386-1789 Ext #6331/416-735-9765