A new collective agreement has been negotiated between Unifor Local 252 and Carpenter Canada amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Effective use of time, patience and self-control will yield the best result in any situation," said Wolson Stowe, President Unifor Local 252. “Bargaining was very difficult and the impact of COVID-19 made it even worse. However, we were able to continue the process online through Zoom with the help of a Conciliator from the Ministry of Labour.”
The three-year collective agreement, in effect from January 1st, 2020 to December 31st, 2022,
contains strengthened language for the 96 members at Carpenter Canada. Highlights of the new deal include wage increases, improved scheduling and overtime practices, increased benefits and a signing bonus for workers at the Woodbridge Ontario plant, which manufactures mattresses-in-a-box.
The ratification vote presented new challenges with pandemic measures in place. Masks and hand sanitizer were provided with the hotel grand ballroom divided into sections with chairs placed to accommodate social distancing guidelines. A sound system was set up to ensure that all members could hear the contract details before gaining controlled access to the voting area. Contact tracing info was also taken as members entered the facility should it be necessary.
The bargaining committee also achieved a Women’s Advocate in the CBA with 40 hours of training paid by the employer. Domestic abuse language was also included and a paid day was added for unexpected emergencies.
“I will never give up. I will never stop fighting for the rights of our members to earn a decent wage, to be treated with dignity, and respect in all areas of their work life,” said Stowe.