A new collective agreement between Unifor Local 975 and Enbridge Gas Distribution extends Paid Education Leave to the 700 members of the local, making them part of a unique program in Canada’s labour movement.
“Paid Education Leave is a fantastic program, and I am very glad to be seeing it spread across our new union,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias.
Local 975 is the latest former Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union local to make the Paid Education Leave program (PEL) part of its contract since the formation of Unifor last year.
The recently ratified contract at Resolute Forest Products included PEL for 2,000 workers at 11 locals. That deal will set the pattern for 8,000 workers represented by Unifor in the primary pulp and paper sector east of the Manitoba border.
PEL is a fund negotiated in collective bargaining with employers. It was first negotiated by the Canadian Auto Workers in 1977 at Rockwell International, an auto parts plant, and spread across the CAW.
Forty per cent of the money is used to pay for course development, classroom materials, program and support staff, discussion leader training, and costs such as discussion leader accommodation, lost wages, mileage and per diem.
The other 60 per cent is used by the bargaining unit for students from that bargaining unit, covering lost, mileage, per diem, accommodation and meals at the Unifor Education Centre in Port Elgin, Ontario.
Under Local 975’s recently ratified collective agreement, the employer will pay 3 cents per hour for all compensated hours per member to the PEL. The three-year deal also includes wage increases of 2 per cent a year, a $2-an-hour Lead Hand premium and an increase to the boot allowance
For more information about PEL, go to: http://www.unifor.org/en/member-services/education/education-faq/paid-education-leave-pel-and-5050-programs-questions#jump-item-1