300 Ace Bakery employees secure first agreement
On August 9, Members of UFCW Local 175 who work at Ace Bakery in Toronto, ratified their very first collective agreement.
The workers at Ace Bakery voted to join the Union in August 2017 and have been working hard toward securing a deal since that time. Negotiations did require some meetings in conciliation to deal with equal pay for equal work and wage progressions. The resulting agreement includes significant monetary improvements for the workers and more.
Every employee receives a signing bonus of $1,000. In the first year, about 80% of the employees will see wage increases ranging from 2% to 17%.
Any off-grid employees will receive a lump sum equal to a 3% increase. The second year will bring a 2% increase to the end rates. Any off-grid employees will receive a lump sum equivalent. These second-year improvements are effective five months after ratification. In year three, all employees including off-grid receive a lump sum of 2.5%. And lastly, in the fourth year, end rates improve by 2.5% to a maximum increase of 51 cents per hour.
Lead Hands receive all wage adjustments plus a premium of $1.25 per hour, which is an increase of 25 cents per hour. The night shift premium improves to 90 cents, up from 60 cents. The night shift now includes hours worked between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., which is an additional hour than before. Licensed Maintenance employees receive an initial adjustment of $4 per hour plus the increases/lump sums that apply each year. Non-Licensed Maintenance workers get a $7 per hour initial adjustment in addition to annual increases/lump sums.
In order to achieve major dental coverage, including orthodontics, and short-term disability (STD), some adjustments were made in the existing health coverage.
Employees did lose $150 in eyewear coverage, bringing them to $100 every two years. In addition, they will see a small loss on their chiropractic coverage too. The new plan, however, is now paid in an 80-20 split instead of 70-30. Employees gained STD, major dental and orthodontic coverage plus an increased bump in the dental cap by $500 per person. The new family plan rate costs $3 less per week for the employees than the previous plan.
The contract contains job posting language to prevent favouritism in filling higher rated jobs. Seniority holding employees without the relevant skill set will have the opportunity to apply for jobs as well. In these cases, the employer will provide a training period for those employees.
In addition, the employer will post 24 new full-time jobs. These jobs will be filled no later than five months after ratification. Employees now get a second paid 10-minute break, which brings them to 50 minutes paid break time per shift.
A complement of part-time seniority workers will receive a maximum of 24 hours per week except under special circumstances. Those circumstances would be triggered by a clause that limits the employer’s ability to hire agency workers. The number of agency workers cannot exceed more than 49% of the total non-full-time staff.
Other language provides employees with a 24-month sunset clause on discipline. Bereavement leave increases to five paid days’ leave, up from three, for the death of an immediate family member. Plus, employees benefit from clear guidelines regarding their rights to Leaves of Absence. Employees now get a second paid 10-minute break, which brings them to 50 minutes paid break time per shift.
An appointed Scheduling Committee of Union Members will review the weekly schedules going forward. This is to ensure employees are maximizing their consecutive days off.
The Union negotiating committee secured a fifth week of vacation for those with 20 years of service. This include bumping the vacation pay maximum to 10%. Each employee will receive $150 per year, up from $130, toward the purchase of safety boots. Lastly, the employer will make a one-time contribution of $5,000 to the UFCW Locals 175 & 633 Training & Education Fund.
Currently, the Ace Bakery plant employs 200 full-time and 100 part-time workers who comprise the bargaining unit. The products made by our Members include baguettes and specialty loaves, burger buns, bagels, sandwich rolls, and cookies.
Congratulations to these Members on achieving their very first collective agreement!
Union Negotiating Committee: Sathees Arumugam, Ahmed Boger, Bayani Edades, Syed Nabi. Ramesh Teju, and Union Rep Tony Nigro.
Take a look at why Ace Bakery workers decided to Join the Union!