CAW Members Vote to Accept Contracts with the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation

October 14, 2011, 3:20 PM EST

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Despite interference earlier in bargaining by Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt, CAW members working at the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation in Ontario and Quebec have voted to accept new collective agreements by over 77 per cent overall.

The tentative agreements were initially settled just hours before a noon hour strike deadline set for Monday, October 3, 2011.

The contracts provide wage increases of 6 per cent over the three year terms, with 2 per cent paid retroactively to April 1, 2011.

Additional wage increases for many jobs also take effect April 1, 2012 with the introduction of a new job evaluation plan. Cost of living allowance (CPI) protection was maintained, which will provide further wage increases of 50 per cent of annual inflation rates should the CPI exceed an average of 4 per cent in the twelve month periods ending October 2011 and 2012.

Other improvements include: increased shift premiums, more annual paid vacation leave and lump sum pay-outs of Separation and Gratuity plans, where the Corporation also pays a substantial premium as a result of the plans' termination.

Members of CAW bargaining committees negotiating the new contracts were pleased that the agreements were ratified by their membership. However, union members remain bitterly disappointed with the interference of Federal Minister of Labour, Lisa Raitt, who publically announced threats of back to work measures soon after the union gave strike notice to the corporation on September 30, 2011.

"In future, the Harper Conservatives would be wiser to first consider the 43 years of strike and lockout free history at the St. Lawrence Seaway before threatening to deny worker's rights to freely bargain collective agreements," said CAW National Representative Mike Menicanin. 

CAW Locals 4211, 4212, 4319, 4320 and 4323 represent approximately 475 supervisory, technical, professional, operations, maintenance and headquarters positions in Ontario and Quebec at the St. Lawrence Seaway.

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