Members of the United Steelworkers locals 480 and 9705 have voted in favour of ratification of the mediator’s recommendations in their contract with Teck.
After five days of voting, which concluded Thursday, 90 per cent of Local 480 voted in favour of the deal along with 94 per cent of Local 9705.
The previous collective agreement between Teck and the USW locals expired May 31, affecting over 900 production and maintenance workers and approximately 160 office/technical employees.
The new five-year agreement is retroactive to June 1 and will expire at the end of May 2022.
“We are pleased to have reached a collective agreement that is fair to employees and supports the ongoing success of Trail Operations,” said Thompson Hickey, General Manager, Teck Trail Operations in a press release.
The Local 480 bargaining committee said in its posted newsletter that it thanked the membership for its support and patience through the process.
Local 480 President Armindo deMedeiros said although the process was a little more difficult than the two previous contracts in 2008 and 2012, the membership “seems pretty happy” that the contract was ratified.
“It’s like a big sigh of relief,” he explained. “It’s hanging over your head not knowing what’s going to happen. Now everybody knows it’s done.
“The next step will be to meet with the company and we’ll go over the memorandum and dot the i’s and cross the t’s and move on.”
Highlights include an eight per cent wage increase over five years and a $14,500 signing bonus to each regular full-time employee payable within 30 days of the agreement’s ratification.
Benefits include $300 annually toward costs of a wellness account; rate increases to long term disability; cost of eye exams included in the biyearly $300 vision care benefit; and the company matching up to four per cent of base earnings for the group RRSP.
In 2008 and 2012 Teck and its unionized workers settled without a strike or mediation. The 2012 collective agreement included the biggest signing bonus, $10,000, the union had ever received.