THUNDER BAY, ON, Aug. 16, 2018 /CNW/ - After 129 days on the picket line, a collective agreement and a return to work agreement have been reached to end the strike at the Port Arthur Health Centre.
"This has been four difficult months and I have great admiration for the 65 women who stood strong and showed such resilience in their efforts to get the employer back to the table," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
Unifor members voted to ratify the new agreement Tuesday night and yesterday the Port Arthur Health Centre Board, which includes the doctors who own the clinic, agreed to the deal that will see the centre resume normal operations by August 24, 2018.
"With this agreement, the workers know their work is valued and respected for what it is worth," said Katha Fortier, Unifor Assistant to the National President. "The most significant increases are for those workers who were in the lowest classification, which was eliminated completely as minimum wage surpassed the wage grid. Workers will now have start rates that are at least 4% to 5% above minimum wage and increases at every step of the grid."
The new three-year agreement includes a range of wage increases across all classifications, retroactive to January 1 2018, a new weekend premium and new language for seniority list postings and float days. There is also an increase of labour management meetings to four times per year, and a commitment to discuss creating flexible part-time rotations.
Other improvements include increases to vision care benefits, uniform/shoe allowance and reimbursement for the cost of medical absence notes.
The new agreement maintains Unifor's Women's Advocate Program in the workplace along with increases to Paid Education Leave, which supports training for union activists.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.
For further information: please contact Unifor Communications Director Natalie Clancy: Natalie.Clancy@unifor.org or (902) 478-9238 (cell).