CAW Members at St. Marys Cement Ratify New Deal

July 29, 2010, 2:42 PM EST

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CAW members at St. Marys Cement in Bowmanville, Ontario have ratified a new three-year agreement by 58 per cent, ending a bitter five month strike.

"This is a significant achievement for this group of workers to fight off the massive concessions demanded by this employer," said CAW Local 222 President Chris Buckley. "St. Marys Cement, now a Brazilian-owned company, was looking to eliminate the pension plan, slash wages, drastically reduce benefits and extend the current contract to five years, which would have set these workers back decades."

The new agreement includes a signing bonus in the first year, a lump sum payment in the second and a wage increase in the third, as well as improvements to training provisions. The CAW bargaining committee was also able to resist the outsourcing of major operations in the plant for the life of the agreement.

The agreement maintains the current defined benefit pension plan until September 2012 at which time it will change to a defined contribution plan.

"The situation we experienced at St. Marys Cement over the last number of months is just one example of how large foreign-owned corporations, in this case Votorantim Cimentos, have been allowed to buy up Canadian resource companies and wreak havoc on the workforce with few, if any, obligations to the country," said CAW President Ken Lewenza. "Congratulations to these workers for having the courage to stand up for their hard earned past gains, including their pension, where our government has failed to do so."

The strike generated a tremendous outpouring of support from CAW members, both active and retired, in local unions across the country, Buckley said.

"I want to extend my thanks, on behalf of St. Marys Cement workers, to all of the CAW members who offered their support during this difficult time."


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