7 Important Updates & Reminders for Local 2 Members Employed by Wine Rack
The Collective Bargaining Agreement has been updated. Have you read it?
Your employment contract and employee rights are elaborated on in the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). This document makes your life at work easier and a whole lot better once you know your contractual rights and entitlements.
Earlier this Autumn, your Union Stewards visited all stores to hand deliver a copy of your CBA with the accompanying Memorandum of Agreement (identifying the improvements/revisions as a result of negotiations this summer). This CBA booklet and Memorandum of Agreement should be permanently posted in the workplace. Read it and get to know it. There should be a copy hanging on a bulletin board for easy staff access. If not, inform your Manager that it’s missing and needs to be replaced. Also notify the Union ASAP so that we can also follow up with HQ. COVID had previously delayed printing and distribution logistics of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement. However, we are now proceeding to send copies of the new CBA to the Employer for shipment to respective stores for individual membership distribution. If you have not been given a copy of your new CBA , please ask your Manager. If there are any further delays with receiving your CBA, contact your Area Manager for resolution. After this, if it’s still not resolved, contact Marc Chalmers (Senior Manager, Regional Operations – East) at email@example.com. This protocol should get a contract booklet into your hands, if not please notify any Union Steward (listed below) for follow up.
The Employer and Union’s Stances on Mandatory Vaccination
While SEIU strongly encourages all its members to become double vaccinated, we acknowledge that a certain portion of society is still vaccine-hesitant. Mandatory vaccination policies in the workplace are largely accepted as a reasonable H&S response by the city and provincial authorities.
After careful consideration of all options, the Union’s position is that members who do not wish to be vaccinated should be laid off citing lack of available work instead of being terminated or placed on indefinite, unpaid leave of absence (the former being a more reasonable response given the penalizing economic implications of the latter). The Union has conveyed this legal position to Arterra Wines and it is our understanding Wine Rack has adopted this same stance regarding unvaccinated employees. Accordingly, please notify the Union if this is not the case.
Regardless, the Union still recommends unvaccinated members to reconsider their refusal. Just as the pandemic was unprecedented, so are legal jurisprudence regarding mandatory vaccination policies. At this point in time, we do not know the legal outcomes of such cases.
Scheduling Grievance: The employer has held back on what was promised at negotiations
At the recent negotiations earlier this summer, the Union successfully negotiated a breakthrough scheduling clause. This allows seniority-rated employees (with 3 or more years’ seniority) to select up to 3 shifts per week. This historic achievement takes away management’s arbitrary assigning of shifts to junior employees (favouritism). The Employer then interpreted the same contract language as selecting up to 3 shifts over a two-week period. The Union maintains that the employee would be entitled to 6 shifts over that same 2-week period, hence the policy grievance.
Despite the Union’s multiple attempts to achieve a compromise, the Employer insisted that any grievance resolution must now include one more condition– the said employee must have an annual performance assessment (PA) of “3 or greater”.
Given that the current PA system is arbitrary, unfair and doesn’t allow a merchant to contest a biased rating, the Employer sabotaged the grievance mediation process. Unsurprisingly, the grievance is now headed to arbitration.
For all unionized merchants with 3 or more years of seniority (now or in the future), please keep track of the number of missed shift opportunities you would have otherwise been entitled to select each week. The Union’s grievance is pursuing lost wages for you in this regard and it could add up to a lot of money. It would help the Union and you if your records consisted of written or pictorial evidence like emails, photos of the schedule, and a written statement of your availability acknowledged by your manager.
Is increased staffing during Christmas season a health & safety violation given current COVID restrictions and best practices?
Many members are expressing concern that increased staffing levels during the Christmas sales rush places worker COVID exposure at heightened risk. Members complain that in some stores, the limited square footage simply cannot ensure employees maintain the minimum 2 meters apart for COVID social distancing even with the limitations placed on number of customers allowed in the store. Profits should never be put ahead of employee safety. If you feel the safe distancing or h&s in your store is being compromised by overcrowding (staff or customers), please contact the Toronto Public Health Authority for information and assistance at:
Medical Officer of Health, Toronto Public Health
Store Transfers (semi-annual requests in January & June)
Did you know your Collective Agreement provides/facilitates a process for employees seeking store transfers? Each year employees interested in transferring stores shall indicate to their Area Manager up six (6) specific stores of interest should an opening occur in one or more of those stores. The expression of interest is to be submitted (always in writing, for verification purposes at a later date if necessary) each year on a semi-annual basis in January (between Jan 7th – Jan 21) and June (between June 7th – June 21st). Please consult the Letter of Understanding re Part Time Employees Transfer in the Collective Agreement hanging up on your store’s bulletin board, and in said LoU, disregard the outdated reference to “Wine Council of Ontario.”
LETTER OF UNDERSTANDING
RE: PART-TIME EMPLOYEES TRANSFERS
September 12, 1997
Mr. J. Cameron Nelson President
Brewery, General & Professional Workers Union Dear Mr. Nelson:
This will confirm the understanding reached at bargaining with respect to the above.
On a semi-annual basis, employees may indicate in writing to their District Manager a maximum of six (6) specific stores to which they desire to transfer, should openings occur in one of these six (6) stores. These expressions of interest shall be filed between January 7 and 21 and June 7 and 21 in any calendar year, commencing in 2010.
The Company agrees to provide notification to stores covered by this Collective Agreement of new stores opening in Toronto in advance of their opening (Note – method notification may vary and includes methods such as notification by POS). Employees shall be entitled to express an interest in transferring to such new stores notwithstanding the fact that the openings occur outside of the January and June windows set out above.
When openings occur, the District Manager shall consider the qualified employees who have so indicated a desire to transfer to the subject stores. “Qualified” shall mean those employees who have a satisfactory work record (not merely discipline-free) and who possess their certificate from the Wine Council of Ontario.
If more than one qualified employee has indicated a desire to transfer to a particular store, length of sales experience with the Company shall also be the deciding factor in the District Manager’s decision.
Director of Human Resources Vincor International
How is my pay rate impacted with the new minimum wage hike on January 1st?
Many workers in Ontario making more than the current minimum wage but less than $15.00 per hour will move to the new minimum wage on January 1st. Fortunately, the Union Collective Agreement requires wages always keep pace and be consistently maintained above the minimum wage regardless of how much minimum wage goes up or even how often the government increases it. This is referred to in the Union contract as the wage “differential”:
ARTICLE 10 WAGES
The minimum starting hourly wage rate for newly hired employees will be $14.40. The Employer agrees that this minimum starting hourly rate will remain at least 15 cents above the Provincial Minimum wage (presently $14.25) throughout the first year of this collective agreement. As of May 1, 2022, this differential will increase to 20 cents. As of May 1, 2024, this differential will increase to 25 cents.
Conversely, if you as a more senior employee are already receiving in excess of the differential (based on accumulative previous performance premiums), rest assured you will continue to enjoy that higher rate of pay going forward.
Does your store have a Union Steward? If it doesn’t, it should!
Did you know every store is entitled to a Union Steward? Though a voluntary position, it is rewarding in terms of learning and establishing worker’s rights and improvements. All the rights we have today as employees were built by Unions that fought to make it possible. Be a part of a group that is striving to make a difference for you and your fellow Wine Rack workers.
Your colleagues would appreciate having a direct point of contact in their store when they have questions or concerns about employment/work. Please feel free to contact any current Union Steward (contact info below) or Business Agent Ted Mansell firstname.lastname@example.org to become a Union Steward for your store. Questions about the role are most welcome!