Unifor Autoport workers ratify new contract

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by Emily Atkins

After eight months of negotiations, Unifor and Autoport at the Port of Halifax reached an agreement on October 7.

Autoport, a CN Rail subsidiary, is one of North America’s largest vehicle processing and transshipment facilities. It handles nearly 185,000 vehicles per year.

Union members ratified the new two-year collective agreement over the weekend of October 15th and 16th.

The new contract delivers an average wage increase of 10 percent over the term of the collective agreement, the union reported. It also strengthened seniority provisions in key areas of the collective agreement such as: shift bids, training, amd full time employment.

The new contract also includes increases to benefits, premium increases and stronger grievance language, Unifor said in a letter to members

The union had taken a strike vote on October 1, and threatened job action on October 8th if a deal was not reached. Members of Lodge 1, Local 100 voted 91 percent in favour of strike action, if necessary.

The union’s bargaining committee was  negotiating with the employer since February 15, 2021. The collective agreement expired on December 31, 2021.

The committee had to “deal with difficult issues at the bargaining table but through your support and solidarity, we were successful in achieving an agreement that respects and values our members,” Unifor stated.

Unifor filed for conciliation after talks were stalled. The two union and employer have met twice with the assistance of the conciliator, but the talks broke down and the union said they reached an impasse on September 13, 2022.