ST.THOMAS, Ont. - After a two-week strike, 91 per cent of Sterling Truck plant workers voted on Mar. 9 to ratify a three-year deal put forth by parent company Freightliner.Richard Laverty, plant CAW U...
ST.THOMAS, Ont. – After a two-week strike, 91 per cent of Sterling Truck plant workers voted on Mar. 9 to ratify a three-year deal put forth by parent company Freightliner.
Richard Laverty, plant CAW Union Local 1001 chairman, says they didn’t join the union to walk backwards, and is happy with the results.
“It was grueling. We bargained from Jan. 13 to Feb. 20 at midnight, when we hit the picket lines, but we are relieved now and we are looking forward to working with our company,” says Laverty.
The original issue leading to the strike was the demand of the company to impose a co-payment system on health care packages.
The company since dropped that demand and agreed to a 2.5 per cent wage increase in the first year, 2.7 per cent in the second and three per cent in the third.
Improvements were also made in the time off procedures, pension plans and specific health care benefits, including a drop from $10 per drug claim to $5, says Laverty.
“It (the strike) has managed to build a great deal of determination in our new local union, we were given our own local charter when we gained certification in October, so for many people this is a very new experience,” says Laverty. “They’ve had their feet put to the fire and responded tremendously. The morale was high and the support for our demand kept growing, we’ve been very encouraged with everything that has happened.”
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