Wine and spirits company ratifies collective agreement with workers

Staff swap wage increase for lump sum payment, receive early signing bonus

Workers at a distillery in Windsor, Ont. ratified a three-year collective agreement last week, which includes lump sum payments in lieu of wage increases and an early signing bonus.

On Aug. 1, Hiram Walker & Sons (which bottles and distills vodkas, whiskies, and wines) announced a new collective agreement with its 132 production and skilled trades workers, represented by the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) union, local 2027.

As part of the latest deal, instead of a wage increase, employees will receive lump sum payments totaling $4,450 for production workers, and $5,200 for traders workers. As well, they received an early signing bonus of $1,250, improvements to the vacation schedule and health care benefits, as well as new hire wage scale and pension contributions. Thirty voluntary retirement incentive packages will also be introduced over the course of the collective agreement.

The deal was reached five months before its expiration date and was approved by approximately 75 per cent of union members.

President and CEO of the company, Patrick O’Driscoll, said the agreement addresses key issues for Canadian operation.

"We are very pleased to have reached this important agreement with the CAW," O’Driscoll said. "It provides a good platform on which we can build a healthy and competitive manufacturing business in Windsor."

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