During a union meeting, held in Chandler, Quebec on August 28, 2019, members of Local 1044 at the Crustacés de Gaspé plant learned of their new work contract which includes significant gains.
“We look forward to finding common ground. Certainly, we will work closely with the employer to ensure the sustainability of the jobs and the plant," said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.
Following negotiations, the employer has undertaken a commitment to reopen its plant for the 2020 fishing season.
In the new three-year contract, wages will increase by $0.75 an hour as of January 1, 2020 and by $0.50 an hour the next two years.
"By January 2021, all salaries will be over $15.00 an hour," explained Gagné.
Several other benefits were achieved, including a $0.90 an hour night bonus, an evening premium of $0.60 an hour, the establishment of a labor relations committee and the recognition of seniority.
No one is left behind, as members who were not able to requalify for employment insurance will now be able to participate in an Emploi Québec program to do so, at the expense of the employer.
Since the announcement of the closure of the plant last March, Unifor has engaged in a public campaign to keep it active. Meetings were held with elected officials from the region as well as a host of organizations and members of the Quebec government. For weeks, Unifor also ensured local mobilization as members from across Quebec traveled to lobby for the reopening of the plant.
It is thanks to this mobilization that a meeting was finally possible between the Unifor Quebec Director and company management, including Jean-Marc Marcoux.
This meeting allowed the parties to establish the climate of confidence necessary for the beginning of negotiations that led to the settlement of the conflict. It should be noted that this agreement was confirmed by the first collective agreement arbitrator.
In addition, Unifor continues its campaign for a better sharing of wealth in the fisheries sector.
"We believe that the regulations must be reviewed and we intend to continue our representations to the governments of Quebec and Canada. This issue is one of the issues we are promoting in the federal election campaign," concluded Gagné.
Unifor is the largest private sector union in Quebec and Canada representing more than 315,000 members in all sectors of the economy. Unifor advocates for all workers and their rights. It strives for equality and social justice at home and abroad and aspires to bring about progressive change for a better future. In Quebec, Unifor represents nearly 55,000 members and is affiliated to Quebec's largest labor union, the Quebec Federation of Labor (QFL).