In October 2018, CUPW successfully organized the cleaners working in the Dieppe and Saint John New Brunswick postal facilities. After difficult negotiations, CUPW has been successful in negotiating a collective agreement.
Prior to being unionized, the workers at Bee Clean were lucky if the employer ever complied with the New Brunswick labour standards. CUPW was successful in negotiating many important improvements with respect to rights and benefits such as health and safety language, a grievance procedure, seniority rights, staffing and scheduling language, union access, jury duty pay, protection of bargaining unit work and lay-off and recall rights.
The parties were unable to agree on many of the monetary issues and pursuant to New Brunswick first contract law, those issues were sent to arbitration upon the request of the employer. Arbitrator John McEvoy ordered a 16-17 month contract with three wage increases, including an initial 13% raise for the lowest paid workers, shift and lead hand premiums, one day of paid sick time per year, overtime after 8 hours a day or 40 hours per week, 3rd and 4th weeks of vacation, two more paid holidays, employer paid accidental death and disability insurance and employer paid life insurance.
The Union’s demands were substantially higher than what was ordered by the arbitrator. We believe these workers deserved much better, but the system is not set up to benefit the workers as much as the employer. The employer refused the arbitrator’s requests for financial information and yet the arbitrator arrived at a very conservative conclusion.
We will be ready to improve this contract in April 2021. We would like to thank the members of the negotiating committee for their dedication and hard work in obtaining this first contract.
• Sister Debbie Legge, Moncton Local
• Sister Kim Stiles, Moncton Local
• Brother Kevin Suttie, Fundy Local
• Sister Toni MacAfee, Atlantic Region Education and Organizing Officer
• Brother Jim Gallant, Atlantic Region Grievance Officer