Unifor’s newest members from Local 4003, working at Saputo Dairy Products, have ratified their first collective agreement with the company.
Congratulations to the bargaining committee on standing firm and negotiating a strong first collective agreement for Local 4003 members,” said Unifor National President Lana Payne. “It’s been a long road, and our members were determined to get a fair deal that reflects the economic moment. The first contract always sets a standard and this deal addresses the workers’ priorities.”
The agreement was ratified – with 94% in favour – in Mississauga, Ont. on Nov. 23, 2022 after a considerable period of negotiations.
A deal was initially reached on Sept. 28, 2022, but the tentative agreement was not ratified. After additional bargaining sessions to address concerns from the membership, Unifor was able to adjust the $9,000 retention bonus that was negotiated as part of the first agreement by moving up the quarterly payments to pay more in the beginning portion of the agreement, including $3,000 to be paid at ratification.
The 58 new members of Local 4003 are dependent owner-operators (truck drivers contracted to Saputo) and operate as Registered Distribution Operators (RDOs) based out of the Ontario regional municipalities of York, Halton and Ottawa-Carleton. They joined Unifor in April 2021.
The bargaining committee obtained a commitment from Saputo to update the various fees paid to RDOs as part of their Independent Business Agreements. This will see positive adjustments to all fees – mileage, volume and drop fees – which in some cases amount to a 10% increase.
“I’m proud of our work. We addressed our member’s key issues and bargained various rate increases that keep up with the cost of inflation, including the retention bonus”, said Sina Piluso, President of Local 4003.
Andrew Stephen, the full-time Regional Representative of Unifor National Council 4000, welcomed the new membership into the fold.
“We are excited to continue the hard work to improve the working conditions of our members and our next communication to them will be to describe the process on electing their new workplace representatives.”