From the President’s Desk
On May 5th I attended the celebration of life for Brother Bob White. It was a wonderful tribute to a great leader. Bob White was an inspiration for an entire generation of activists. Bob White led the Canadian Autoworkers to split away from the UAW was president of the CAW and later became president of the Canadian Labour Congress.
The week of May 8th the elected delegates and I attended the CLC convention in Toronto. Brother Hassan Yussuf was acclaimed as President and Unifor endorsed Marie Clark Walker was elected as Secretary Treasurer Donald Lafleur was re-elected as Executive V.P. and Larry Rousseau was also elected as Executive V.P. Thank you to the all who came up on the bus for the vote, and a big thanks to Brother John Neely for organizing our members for the bus.
On May 17th I joined MPP Wayne Gates, Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, and Regional Chairperson Alan Caslin at a town hall meeting regarding the modernization process and future of jobs at the Niagara casinos. The meeting was very informative, and also very disturbing to think that 1,400 casino jobs at directly at risk. This affects more than just our Unifor Security service members, it affects all workers throughout the Niagara Region.
We held an election on Wednesday 17th May to fill an opening on the Executive Board for a trustee. There were six members who ran in the election which resulted in a runoff election. The Runoff election will be on June 21st, the pre-vote is on Friday 16th June. I would like to thank the six members for running in this election and encourage you to stay active, attend meetings and educational programs.
This month Local 199 spent a considerable amount of time at the bargaining table. FirstOntario ratified a new 3 year contract with modest wage increases in each year of the agreement. Highlights also include an extra week of vacation and a signing bonus. Our Vesuvius members recently ratified a new 3 yr. contract. Wage increase and 3 lump sum payments, improvements to the health and welfare plan and language changes that benefit each member. The Casino Security members voted in favour of a new 3 year contract. Very impressive improvements to the benefit package across the board and wages in the first to years of the contract and a significant signing bonus were all part of this new deal. The members at Brunner Manufacturing also ratified a new 4 year agreement. Wage increases in each year and a signing bonus plus increases to their defined contribution pension plan were acquired in this set of negotiations.
I would like to thank the Bargaining Committees at FirstOntario, Brunner, Vesuvius and Casino Security for all their hard work negotiating solid agreements.
The month ended with very sad news, Bette Ann Chevalier passed away. Bette Ann Chevalier was a chairperson at Local 199 for many years, Bette Ann was a tireless advocate for the workers she represented and the community in which she lived. On behalf of our members I would like to pass on our condolences to the Chevalier family.
President Unifor Local 199