After three months of bargaining, UFCW 1518 members working at Source Office Furniture in Burnaby unanimously ratified a four-year collective agreement. The deal is only the second collective agreement for this 26-member bargaining unit consisting of drivers, machine operators, assemblers and service people and represents significant improvements over their previous non-union wages and working conditions.
“Since joining UFCW 1518, these members have made great gains in wages, benefits and health and safety,” said Executive Assistant Patrick Johnson. “It’s a compelling example of the power of organizing and collective bargaining.”
Among other highlights, the new agreement features a $600 signing bonus as well as a large wage increase. “Members will receive a wage hike in the range of 20 to 26 percent over the life of the agreement,” Johnson said. “The increase is retroactive to May 31, 2018, so the employer will be paying out almost $32,000 to our 26 members – that’s a nice chunk of change before the holidays.”
After two rounds of bargaining with the union, the employer came to realize that workers’ issues were also their issues. “Retention has been a big problem for Source, and now they understand that they have to pay workers fairly in order to keep them,” added Johnson. “So in addition to wage increases, we also negotiated a wage retention grid. Members will now receive an extra 50 cents an hour when they reach four years of employment. Then they’ll get another 50 cents when they hit eight, 10 and 15 years.”
Other gains include the addition of a fourth week of paid vacation, a 50 percent increase in the boot allowance and the introduction of a meal allowance. The employer will now pay $100 for medical reports and new statutory leaves were added. “This is a good agreement and a vast improvement in the wages and working conditions that existed prior to unionizing,” said Secretary-Treasurer Kim Novak. “This is what workers can achieve when they stand together with a union behind them.” She offered a special thank you to the members on the bargaining committee, Carlo Sepe and Sasa Boskivic for their hard work representing their co-workers in this round of negotiations. They were assisted by union representative Michelle Fedosoff and director Kim Balmer