About 65 UFCW 1518 members working at Snowcrest Foods ratified a strong renewal agreement yesterday after five months of bargaining. The four-year deal made significant strides toward achieving wage parity between two pay schedules.
About 85 percent of the 63-member bargaining unit are covered by the lower paid Schedule B. Under the renewed agreement, these members will receive a wage hike of between 34-54 percent over four years. The higher paid, longer service members paid according to Schedule A received wage increases totaling 11 percent over the life of the agreement, with three percent of this amount retroactive to March 25, 2018. According to Snowcrest, the total value of the monetary increases is $1.5 million above their current costs, with retroactive pay alone reaching in excess of $123,000.
“The union had a mandate to equalize the pay schedules. We weren’t able to fully close the gap, but we made significant strides,” said director Kim Balmer.
Additionally, a range of “off work” hours and statutory leaves will now be counted as hours worked, putting more money in members’ pockets for fulfilling obligations such as union leave, jury duty and compassionate care. Other gains include a two dollar per hour enhanced heavy lifting premium for Schedule B labourers; a modest increase to the UFCW Dental Plan; an increase to the safety boot allowance; and a hike in severance pay in the event of plant closure.
“Our bargaining committee did an excellent job,” stated Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “I’d like to thank committee members Harminder Brar, Ken Tober and Peter Yewell for their hard work in getting the best agreement possible for our members.”