Strong Arbitration Award for Pharma Plus Workers in Ottawa

February 17, 2010, 9:51 AM EST

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A recent arbitration award on the issue of wage progressions for 400 CAW members at Pharma Plus stores in Ottawa is a strong victory for workers.

The award means workers will now reach their top wage rate after 36 months of work. It overturns a company interpretation of the 2008 collective agreement that trapped workers in a system that often meant they had to work a lot more than 36 months to reach the top rate. The company attempted to rollback many newer employees months of service on the wage grid.

"This is an important win for workers at these stores. It restores a fair system of pay

based on how much experience workers have," said CAW eastern Ontario area director Harry Ghadban. "The award ensures the wage grid negotiated during our last round of collective bargaining will be properly applied."

The company is now required to go back and assess the rate of pay for each employee and ensure they are fully compensated based on the existing wage grid and to also provide any back pay owing.

CAW Local 414 represents 400 workers at 21 Pharma Plus drug stores in Ottawa, Ontario including cashiers, clerks, pharmacy technicians, postal clerks.

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