Unifor celebrates significant gains for health care members in Chatham and Wallaceburg

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Healthcare workers of Unifor Local 2458 have successfully concluded their contract negotiations with Chatham Kent Hospital, resulting in several improvements for members spread across Chatham and Wallaceburg, Ontario.

“One of the major challenges the union faced during the negotiations was addressing the back wages from the previous agreement, which had been restricted by Bill 124 and negotiated by another union,” said Tullio DiPonti, President of Unifor Local 2458. “However, the recent victory has set a precedent not just for Unifor, but for all labour unions seeking justice for their members.”

At the core of the contract lies a significant victory in terms of remuneration. Members are set to receive 3.5% yearly wage increases. Additionally, due to the successful challenge against Bill 124, they will also benefit from a 5% wage improvement from the previous agreement. This is in conjunction with retro pay covering the duration of the previous contract. As a special recognition of the role they play, RPNs will receive an additional $2.00 per hour, while PSWs will see a permanent $2/hour wage enhancement enshrined in their package.

“This is the best agreement these members have seen in decades, possibly ever,” Matt Sojak, Chairperson, Unifor Local 2458. “With this new agreement, the future looks bright for our members as we continue to provide essential services in Chatham and Wallaceburg.”

The agreement covers 590 members of Local 2458 spread across two locations in Chatham and Wallaceburg. This diverse group of members hold over 20 different job titles ranging from Registered Practical Nurses (RPNs) and Personal Support Workers (PSWs) to cooks and housekeeping staff.

“Congratulations to the membership on reaching this historic collective agreement,” said Ken Durocher, Secretary-Treasurer of Unifor Local 2458 “With a decisive voting 91 per cent in favour the members at Chatham Kent Hospital  ratified their first collective agreement with Unifor but also showcased there unity and solidarity to the bargaining committee.”

The 2-year agreement, which began on April 1, 2022, will be effective until March 31, 2024.