Cable guys ratify with enthusiasm

New agreement comes after two-year delay

The collective agreement between Cogeco Cable and the Canadian Union of Public Employees was long in coming. It was ratified nearly two years after the previous agreement expired. But, when it arrived, it was relatively generous in its terms.

The wage increases for the first two years are not retroactive, though the equivalent is provided in lump sums, and they are not compounded. But, at three per cent and 2.5 per cent, they are relatively high.

According to Alain Richard, CUPE union rep, the increases are justified. His members “put their shoulders to the wheel when things were tough and worked a lot of overtime these last couple of years.”

The shift premium was improved from 0%-5%-10% to 0%-6%-15% and a second floating holiday will be added in 2012.

The closure agreement for the Cargill case-ready plant in Rexdale, Ont. has no provision for severance beyond the Employment Standards Act, but it has a retention bonus for employees who stay to the bitter end.

For short-term employees with up to four years of service, that bonus is 20 hours’ pay per year of service, ranging up to 28 hours’ pay per year of service with 20 years or more. Employees who volunteer for early termination and those who give notice will also be eligible for full severance and bonus.

As has become common, the company will contribute $120,000 to the union’s employee adjustment program to assist in finding new jobs.

The four-year agreement between Peterborough Utilities and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers contains a couple of innovative benefits provisions.

Rather than an annual boot allowance, or even a carryover, this agreement provides one amount for the full term and leaves it up to the employee to spend it as necessary.

In addition to the usual 24-month cycle for the vision care plan, employees who need to replace a lens earlier have a smaller amount available in the off year. And, the company covers $100 of fitness club dues.

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