News briefs: Aug. 24

Ability centre employees reject tentative agreement; Tentative deal for federal operation workers

News briefs: Aug. 24

Jak’s liquor employees join SEIU

VANCOUVER — Workers at Jak’s Beer Wine Spirits liquor retail store in Maple Ridge, B.C. voted 75 per cent to unionize with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 2 on Aug. 14.

The Maple Ridge location is the first location to unionize and this could lead to more Jak’s Beer Wine Spirit stores joining soon, says the union.

Jak’s Beer Wine Spirits is a privately owned liquor store with 15 locations across British Columbia.

In May, SEIU Local 2 launched a campaign to unionize essential workers during the pandemic. SEIU, Local 300 represents workers across B.C. in the liquor production and retail industry, says the union.

Ability centre employees reject tentative agreement

SYDNEY RIVER, N.S. — Staff at the Breton Ability Centre in Sydney River, N.S. rejected the tentative agreement offered by their employer on Aug. 17. Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Local 3513 voted 81 per cent against the proposal.

“The employer is proposing changes that will negatively impact the seniority list for casuals,” says Kathy MacLeod, CUPE national representative. “Since almost half of the 290 employees at the centre are casuals, this did not go over well. In addition, the employer wants to reduce holiday pay by one-third.”

The workers, who provide 24-hour care to residents of the centre, have been without a contract since 2015, says the union.

Grocery workers at Jan’s Valu-Mart ratify deal

DEEP RIVER, Ont. – The United Food and Commercial Workers union (UFCW)  Canada, Local 1006A members working at Jan’s Valu-Mart ratified a new union contract on Aug. 4. 

Highlights of the new three-year collective agreement include a reduction in the part-time progression, meaning it will take part-time workers significantly less time to reach the top wage rate; a reduction in the student wage progression, so that students can reach top wage rate faster; and minimum wage protection for top rate part-time workers to ensure their wages stay above junior employees should the minimum wage increase beyond the end rate, says the union.

“Despite the difficulties of bargaining during a pandemic, our negotiating committee did an outstanding job in securing a strong contract for the members at Jan’s Valu-Mart,” says Wayne Hanley, UFCW, Local 1006A president.

Tentative deal for federal operation workers

OTTAWA — The Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) reached a tentative agreement on Aug. 14 that provides increases to wages, no concessions, improved working conditions and an increase to the shift premium rate for almost 10,000 members of the Operational Services (SV) group under the Treasury Board.

SV members will also be awarded a Phoenix damages settlement to compensate members for the pain and suffering caused by the broken pay system, says the union. 

The PSAC bargaining team successfully secured fair wage increases averaging 2.11 per cent per year, says PSAC.

Other improvements to the collective agreement include an increase of 12.5 per cent to the shift premium from $2 to $2.25 per hour; an expansion of the definition of family for the purpose of care of family, family-related leave responsibilities, and bereavement leave articles; an increase to the meal allowance for overtime from $10 to $12; and improvements to travel time to pay for up to five hours of compensation for any stopovers, says the union.

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