Port McNeil IGA members ratify new contract, avoid strike

Members working at IGA in Port McNeil ratified a new collective agreement by a strong majority last week after more than a year of bargaining. The deal comes after a long, uphill battle, including three rounds of mediation at the BC Labour Relations Board.

But the 60-member bargaining unit stood their ground, rejecting the employer’s first offer and taking a successful strike vote. “Our members know what they are worth and they sent a clear message that they expected to be treated fairly and with respect,” said Executive Assistant Patrick Johnson.

At a time when wages in the private sector are stagnant, the agreement features a two percent wage increase in each year of the four-year deal, retroactive to October 2017, in addition to a $50 (gift card) signing bonus. The employer will now match RRSP contributions for two tax years as well as implement paid funeral leave for “step” family members.

“The union was also successful in preventing the employer from adding a third excluded management position, which is an important win,” Johnson said. “There’s no doubt that this improved agreement comes as a result of the members standing together. By giving the bargaining committee a strike mandate, they effectively brought IGA back to the bargaining table and mediation.”

Johnson thanked the bargaining committee, made up of members Sandra Brandson and Bob Roe, assisted by union representative Ashley Campbell and director Kim Balmer.