MONTREAL - Of the 550 Steelworkers employed by Host International at the international airport in Dorval, 80% voted to accept a good negotiated settlement yesterday. "Our members supported us throughout this strenuous negotiating process. On two occasions, they rejected management's offers and expressed their support for the bargaining committee.
We had a clear strike mandate for whenever this would be deemed timely by the bargaining committee. The employer finally understood, and we have now improved our wage and working conditions," declared Jean-Yves Couture, union staffer with the United Steelworkers (FTQ).
One of the key issues in these negotiations had to do with the insurance plan. The employer will now pay a 50% share, whatever type of service is provided to members. Furthermore, the entire membership is now eligible for dental benefits insurance. The employer's level of contributions for long-term disability insurance will be gradually implemented over the term of the collective agreement, while all others will take effect immediately.
Finally, new services such as vision care have been added. "Everyone will now be entitled to the same level of services, without having to pay extra. For example, some of our members were paying up to $120 monthly. What's nice about the new settlement is that they will even be entitled to additional services.
All of this was made possible through our members' support and perseverance. We felt that we had their support and the employer knew it. This makes a big difference at the bargaining table," continued Allan Ramsay, president of the Host bargaining unit of the United Steelworkers (FTQ) Hotel and Food Service Amalgamated Local 9400.
The four-year collective agreement includes a 3% wage increase in the first year, 2.5% in each of the next two years and 3% in the final year. The hourly rate paid to a first cook, for example, will therefore rise from $14.20 to $15.84 by the end of the term of the agreement.
Workers were also granted two additional sick days, a fifth week of vacation after 25 years of service, four weeks after 10 years (instead of the previous 12 years) and a more equitable calculation for days off and personal holidays for tip employees. Finally, union leave will be eight hours weekly where fewer than 600 are employed and 16 hours weekly if the workforce exceeds 600.
It should be recalled that, on March 5, 95% of members rejected management's non-wage-related offers. The employer refused to put any wage-related offers on the table. At that time, the members granted a strike mandate for whenever their bargaining committee deemed it appropriate. On April 1, 85% of members rejected the employer's final offers and re-affirmed their support for the bargaining committee.
Host International is a concession-holder operating foodservice outlets throughout the international airport in Dorval. This bargaining unit of United Steelworkers (FTQ) Amalgamated Local 9400 is made up of more than 550 employees, whose average hourly wage is $10.33. More than 50 per cent of these employees are women, and a large number of the workers are from ethnic minority groups.
/For further information: Jean-Yves Couture, United Steelworkers (FTQ), (450) 430-9220; Allan Ramsay, United Steelworkers (FTQ), (514) 652-8701/