PRESS RELEASE: OCTOBER 31, 2009

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To all UFCW 247 Members Employed at Okanagan Tree Fruit Cooperative

Below you will find a copy of the binding arbitration award issued by Mediator Mark Atkinson with respect to your negotiations with the Employer. As previously communicated and noted in the introduction to the document, Mr. Atkinson met with both parties on October 4th-6th and then informed the Union and the Company that he would issue a decision on the outstanding issues. The award we have received will form the majority of a new collective agreement. Mr. Atkinson notes on the last page that there are additional issues he has instructed the two parties to have further discussions on, although he retains jurisdiction to deal with them if no agreement can be reached. These are primarily issues that have arisen as a result of changes to the agreement and had not been discussed in the meetings. He would like the Union and Company to try and work some of these issues out but if we are unable to do so, they would be referred back to him.

Your Negotiating Committee has not had a chance to review the document and we have scheduled a meeting to do so next week. Once we have gone through the award we will be providing further explanation of the award. Some of the points you should be aware of are:

-          The new agreement will be for a period of five years, expiring August 31, 2014

-          The potential of a seven day work week with members having the opportunity to bid on their shift by seniority. Work performed on the weekend would be paid at straight time unless the hours exceeded a full time work week in which case overtime rates would apply.

-          An additional 2 days Bereavement leave (up to 5) for a death in a member’s immediate family. -          The introduction of part time workers.

-          A new wage scale for employees hired AFTER October 27, 2009. The wages of current employees will NOT be reduced.

-          No reduction to any of the current benefits and the introduction of a benefit plan in the fourth year of the contract in which the employer will contribute $250.00 per full time employee.

-          Changes to members ability to restrict the functions they perform unless supported by medical documentation.

-          A review of the current sick day entitlement in the third year if the Employer feels the benefit is being abused.

-          A wage reopener in year four to establish wage changes (if any) for years four and five.

-          The establishment of an Employee Relations Committee with representation from each facility to deal with collective agreement issues. We realize that this has been a long and frustrating process for everyone but as per the Mediators instructions, we will continue to meet to try and resolve the outstanding matters. Once the complete agreement is finalized, we will schedule membership meetings to discuss and explain the changes.

A copy of the award can be viewed here:
OTF Award.pdf - 13,769 KB

 

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