Unifor begins bargaining for first contract with Saputo Inc.

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A Saputo truck

Unifor began bargaining with Saputo Inc. this week – March 21, 2022 – in Toronto on Local 4003’s first collective agreement with the dairy company.

“The first collective agreement sets the standard for new members,” said Deb Tveit, Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “The bargaining team represents workers’ values and priorities and will negotiate the best collective agreement for the membership.”

The 58 new members of Local 4003 – based in Vaughan, Ont. – who joined Unifor in April 2021, are dependent owner-operators (truck drivers only contracted to Saputo) and registered distribution operators (RDOs).

The new bargaining unit covers these workers who transport Saputo dairy products in Ontario within the York, Halton and Ottawa-Carleton regions. They join the other 535 Saputo workers who are already members of Unifor in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Transparency on drivers’ revenue is a key bargaining priority. The bargaining committee wants to ensure standard rates are paid to the truck drivers and is prioritizing wage increases during collective bargaining to keep up with the cost of inflation.

“The rates and premiums for RDOs have remained stagnant for many years,” said Local 4003 President Sina Piluso. “We want to ensure all members are paid fairly and treated with respect, especially when the cost of living keeps rising.”

After spending some time in the lead up to negotiations understanding Saputo's business model, Unifor is well-prepared to address the concerns and bargaining priorities of this new bargaining unit.

Negotiation talks have been productive, said Piluso, and additional bargaining dates are scheduled for the week of April 11, 2022 in Toronto.

Local 4003 will keep members updated during the bargaining process.

Local 4003’s bargaining committee for Saputo Inc.

Andrew Stephen – Regional Representative, Unifor National Council 4000
Sina Piluso – President, Unifor Local 4003
Giritharan Panchalingam – Bargaining Committee Member
Zbigniew Godlewski – Bargaining Committee Member
Barry Kennedy – National Representative