The Union Committee and Company have had a number of face-to-face meetings since January 29th, 2009 (as per Article 26-LU-#5).

Right from the beginning the Union was very clear in stating that any proposed change that reduced Union jobs or positions would have to be completely justified.

  • As per Article 20.01(a) it is the Company’s responsibility to make adequate provisions for the safety and health of employees during the hours of employment.
  • As per Article 20.01(b) that workloads when set will not be detrimental to the health, safety and general well being of the employees.
  • As per Article 20.01(b) adequate rest intervals will be provided for those employees who are exposed to heat and smoke and/or other adverse working conditions, which produce more than normal fatigue.
  • As per our leave provision in the CLA (e.g. Article 12, 13, 14 etc.) our members must have access to their negotiated and earned leave.

Our Union Committee, which consists of two Executive Officers and one crew representative per shift/per area (total of 12), have raised numerous questions to the Company in regard to justifying their proposed changes. In addition to this we have asked the Company to give us an hour-by-hour work schedule. The Union took a look at what duties are included in the new structure and believe it to be an impossible task based on availability of equipment and how the work actually comes at you. According to the information currently there are 40 open positions from Line 1 to Line 8. The Union questioned as to how many people the Company was prepared to hire to fill some of the 40 open positions.

It has been like pulling teeth to get any precise information from the Company. To date we have neither received an answer on the open positions nor has the Company given us a breakdown on how each job and the associated duties would fit into a workday. Probably because it just doesn’t fit.

The Union has also pointed out in the Company’s own stats that there are over-exposures under the current conditions and that reducing positions would even make it worse. All the concerns put forward by the Union seems to be falling on deaf ears.
In view of the lack of Company response on specific questions, the Union Focus Committee was left with no other choice but to contact the WCB and ask them to do an investigation on the Company’s proposed restructuring. The WCB won’t tell the Company how to restructure the areas but should require an Exposure Control Plan to ensure our members are not overexposed. It should include administrative controls/work schedules consisting of an hour-by-hour breakdown of the duties.

Based on availability, the WCB have agreed to come into the plant on the week of March 16th, 2009. There is a good chance the Company will answer the questions when a WCB Officer is the one asking them.

The Union honestly believes that the Company’s approach by having open-ended workloads, cannot demonstrate that these jobs can be done in a way not detrimental to the health, safety and well being of our members. The sad truth is that by the Company being secretive and non-cooperative, a week of meetings has gone by with absolutely no progress.

The Company’s actions to date are not consistent with the intent of 26-LU-#5 (Organizational Change) and in the Union’s opinion bordering on bad faith. The Union will update the membership as soon as there is something new to report.