Agropur Dairy Cooperative in Nova Scotia ratifies new contract

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The 135 Unifor members working at the Agropur Dairy Cooperative production plant in Bedford, N.S. have signed a new five-year contract that has wage increases of over 16.4% over the life of the agreement, including a 5% pay bump in the first year.

“Congratulations to the bargaining committee,” said Unifor Atlantic Regional Director Jennifer Murray. “In addition to incredible wage increases, we are also proud of this committee for negotiating a land acknowledgement in their collective agreement, setting a standard for future rounds of bargaining in Atlantic Canada.”

The contract ratified on April 7 at 91%.

The gains include pay bumps of a $1, $1.50, and $1.75 over the next five years, for Operators, Class 2 Processors and Maintenance employees. The agreement will also facilitate the transition of members' pension plans to the CAAT DB Plus Pension, which is expected to yield significantly higher pension benefits.

The new contract has a retirement incentive of approximately $23,000 for workers who choose to retire at age 60 and the maintenance of Health Benefits for workers who are on long-term disability, past the first three years of disability. Members will be able to access the doubling of the Paid Education Leave to $6,000 a year.

This workplace is responsible for producing dairy products and distributing them under its banner name of Farmer’s and multiple other brands of Agropur, including Natrel. These Unifor members are drivers, warehouse employees, quality control laboratory technicians, maintenance workers and production workers.

The biggest challenge of negotiating this contract was achieving a general wage increase that could keep pace with recent inflation hikes while also obtaining a superior pension plan and a commitment to allow the unit’s oldest workers to retire at 60 if they so desired.  

“We are happy to achieve this contract,” said Local 40-N President Doug Gray. “This has been a solid round of bargaining for our members of Local 40-N, with substantial gains in terms of wages, pension improvements and retiring with dignity.”

The contract is retroactive to October 22, 2023, and expires in 2028.

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Jenny Yuen

National Communications Representative