Packaging Departmental Update by Packaging Executive Patrick Gehan:
Spring has sprung at the brewery and there are lots of preparations underway by our union officers and JHSC members to ensure we all have a safe and profitable summer ahead. JHSC Co-Chair Derek Bamford, Bud Crew Steward Matt Jamieson and myself met with management a couple of weeks back to discuss bringing back the bottle supply utility position to packaging. Having this job back in the mix will be a tremendous advantage to our current full time and temporary workers, but also will be a tremendous resource on the floor for our summer student workers. The company is planning on running 7 days a week operations in packaging for the foreseeable future on all lines except the Keg line. LC2 WWF operations are tentatively set to begin 2 crew staffing on June 1st, 2022. Next week, the week of May 9th, is scheduled to be another Corona week on the bottle line, with training on key pieces of equipment, such as bulk depalletizer, Jones endloader, and bulk glass rinser set to continue. Derek Bamford and his JHSC members have been busy working on items like the heat stress policy, getting the WBGT’s calibrated, and determining new heat stress temperature zones, specifically for the LC2 workcentres. Portacool fans have been brought down to the floor and a cleaning plan is being developed by the HACCP group to ensure they stay sanitized and operational all summer. There is currently a job posting up in packaging for the Rock Crew Production Forktruck position. This posting will be filled according to Section 12 of the collective agreement and I would encourage all interested persons to apply for it. We are in advanced discussions with the company to try and come to an agreement for more PFT postings in the near future, but ultimately, while we remain optimistic, nothing is written in stone as of yet. The additional manpower is sorely needed, especially as LC2 continues to ramp up operations, and the company realizes this fact as well. Postings have now closed for brewside transfer, and staging apprentice positions, best of luck to all candidates for those postings. Last Friday, the company dropped their mask mandate, making mask wearing voluntary and I would just like to remind all of us to be kind to one another and respect people’s choices to mask up or not. If you do choose to forgo the mask, the bump cap policy is in effect until we hit the bump cap relief temperature thresholds. Finally, I would just like to encourage all our members to keep an eye out for our summer students that have just started. Statistically speaking, they are our most vulnerable workers. It’s a big brewery with potential safety hazards all over the place. Let’s make sure ALL of us are looking out for each others safety and wellbeing as we enter another busy summer season.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Sister Aaron McFarland has been working with the Retail Store to provide easier access to employee beer for ‘C’ shift workers. It appears the Retail Store will extend their hours on Thursday and Friday night until 11 p.m. later this month.
- Vaccination Policy – we have had discussions with the company in light of changes that came into effect this week with the ending of requirements for the vaccine certificate program in most Ontario businesses. We are waiting for the company to provide us with their position.
- At the February General Meeting, our membership voted in favour of a new agreement on the Variable Compensation Bonus for 2022. Quarterly targets and payouts will remain (Q1 and Q2 combined). If a member submits a mitigated hazard into the Hazard Notification Tool, they will receive 25% of the bonus for that quarter. Submitting a mitigated hazard will also be a qualifier to receive any achievements on targets for BEP, consumer complaints, or GLY.
- February 29 (28th in non leap years) is International Repetitive
Strain Awareness Day. RSI injuries account for more than all other occupationally-incurred injuries combined. Hazards are best eliminated at their source. The prevention of RSIs begins with eliminating repetitive work through job design. For more information on this please click https://www.ccohs.ca/events/ rsi/.
- In the last 2 weeks, we have had 3 days of arbitration hearings for our terminated member. 2 more days are booked in April, for a total of 8 days to adjudicate this matter.
- Members are encouraged to sign up for pouch packing overtime. It’s very important that we are able to deliver and keep this work in house going forward. Pouch overtime is likely to go late into the spring.
- Member training will re-commence on March 25. We are planning to run as many members through as possible before the summer.
- We are waiting on a response from the company on work boot reimbursement. The company has stopped reimbursing employees who have to pay out of pocket for any portion of their boots. Reminder, you are entitled to a ‘Mega Comfort Insole’ or equivalent at the time of boot replacement or when the original becomes worn. Members only need to make the request to the boot store or truck.
- Brother Al Gallien has been lobbying the company to address the trades rate. We are at an all time low level in the electrical department, with a number of retirements to come later in the year. At this point, the company has been unwilling to engage us in discussions.
- The company made a commitment to have the electrical apprentice selected by March 18. At this point, this seems unrealistic. No testing or interviewing has taken place. This has been a frustrating process for all involved.
- The Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) marks International Women’s Day by highlighting the critical importance of care work, and calling for greater support for care workers and investment in Canada’s care systems. Please see statement form Bea Bruske, President of the Canadian Labour Congress: https://documents.clcctc.ca/
Packaging Department Update from Packaging Executive Patrick Gehan:
Packaging Report February
The company is still looking at language regarding the dedicated can line agreement. We have been fighting since Adam Wehrle was in London to have 4 jobs on all three shifts on the new line (LC2), and it seems that finally they’re moving in the right direction. No formal agreement has been signed yet between the union and the company but we hope to report on this before the next general membership meeting.
LC2 is no longer designated as a construction area, and as a result the area will be under increased scrutiny by myself and the packaging stewards. We will look to ensure the company is following the CA on issues like lines of demarcation, fair days work, and of course, ensuring the health and safety of our members working in the area as LC2 continues to ramp up.
On the subject of WWF, there’s a lot of training going on in packaging between the new can line and a multitude of bottle line positions. The company has said in previous union management meetings that the better Lc2 preforms, the sooner the can line WWF crews come off. The company has also said that 7 day operations of the bottle line is their biggest priority right now, and the second WWF crew is slated to go back on to weekends sometime in March. We have postings up around the packaging department for a second WWF steward to represent that crew, and once a candidate has been selected or elected, we’re looking forward to getting our newer stewards, brother James Hill and brother Dave Flute as well as the aforementioned 2nd WWF steward into a union training session with Jeff, hopefully around mid-March.
The company recently hired on 11 more full time employees in packaging, including two employees that were temps for nearly 7 years. Just wanted to officially welcome them to the department, and say that I hope to see them at general membership meetings in the near future.
On that note, during the last company run engagement survey late last year, two of the biggest issues identified by the membership in the survey was 1) how the company treats the temporary employees, and 2) the abysmal parking situation surrounding the brewery. As a result, the company wished to begin a parking committee to see if the union and the company could hammer out any solutions to improve the parking situation. We have people getting hurt crossing the lots, people parking on the streets, and frankly its a generally terrible situation for people driving in from out of town for their shifts. We held our first parking committee meeting this past week, with Jeff Robinson and myself speaking on behalf of the membership. We provided a couple of medium to long term solutions to this issue, but the company was not willing to make any financial commitments at this time. The company has told London Hydro to vacate three lots that are under Labatt’s control but they will not be out of these lots until well into Summer 2022. We have yet to pick a date for a second parking committee meeting, but I will continue to update on this issue, either in future general membership meetings or on the Local buzz.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Health and Safety post by JHSC Co-Chair, Derek Bamford
- On LC2 is no longer considered a construction zone. Hard hats are no longer required. Visi-vests are still required in fork truck transfer area(depal, drop zone)
- A temporary washroom has been rented and placed at the back of the Keg building, in the fork lift repair area. Repairs are needed to the underground plumbing of the permanent washrooms.
- A can tipper is being sourced by the company to alleviate ergonomic concerns at LC2.
- Bollards and duck unders are beginning to be installed around the LC2 area.
- KN95 masks are available in vending machines across the plant. 3 ply medical masks are located in line managers offices in brewing, staging, and packaging. Cloth masks should no longer be worn.
- On February 14, we will no longer be required to participate in temperature screening. Public Health guidelines will be placed at punch clocks and members will acknowledge them daily when punching in.
- Efforts are being made to spread employees out at break time. A new fridge has been purchased to store lunch containers in the cafeteria. Microwaves have been placed in keg overflow lunch room and Fireplace room in packaging. Members are encouraged to use these alternate break areas when their normal break room is at capacity.
- Updates from the union office:
- In an effort to keep pouch packing work in the plant, we entered into a temporary agreement with the company that allows cross departmental work into packaging, and WWF employees to work overtime Monday – Friday. There are a lot of overtime opportunities on the table for our membership. A final memorandum will be signed next week and posted on union boards.
- With the significant inflation we experienced in 2021, our COLA (cost of living allowance) language was triggered. The language is quite dated and does not provide for much inflationary protection. The average payout will be $130, with the highest payout being $200. It equates to 6 cents an hour. This is paid on all hours worked, including statutory holidays and vacation. This will be paid to seniority employees only on February 11.
- The Variable Compensation Bonus was 37.5% for the 4th quarter of 2021. This will be paid on February 18. All seniority members have the option to role this into their SunLife RRSP.
- Reminder, if you have contracted COVID-19, the union can help you file a short-term disability (WI) or WSIB claim.
- Through the company’s engagement survey, many members identified parking as a concern. The company has agreed to form a joint committee with the union to investigate solutions. Pat Gehan and Jeff Robinson will represent the union. If you have an idea, please reach out to one of us.
- We had at least 3 reported falls in parking lots this week. If you have a fall or a near miss, please report to management immediately. The JHSC needs this data to make recommendations for a more robust snow removal contract. The current contractor is not getting to snow and ice between parked vehicles and has been slow to salt when required.
- London and District Labour Council (LDLC) signed onto a letter from the OFL (Ontario Federation of Labour) addressed to the Ford government calling for a layered approach to airborne transmission of COVID-19. https://documents.
ofl.ca/communications/2022/01/ 20220126OLETGOVDRAFTFORENDORSE MENTREAIRBORNETRANSMISSIONCOPE
- There will be a Membership Meeting on Zoom on Saturday, February 12, at 9:30 a.m. We hope to have a proposal for 2022’s Variable Compensation Bonus for members to vote on.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Covid-19 updates:
- Due to the Omicron variant starting December 13, Middlesex Health Unit implemented new requirements to help prevent the spread of the virus. If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should immediately self isolate and get tested. If you test positive, you need to develop a list of close contacts, and make sure they are notified. We cannot rely on the Health Unit to do our contact tracing at this time.
- If you come in close contact with a positive Covid-19 case, you must isolate for 10 days regardless of vaccination status and receive 2 negative tests. Also, if someone in your household has Covid-19 symptoms, everyone in the household must isolate until the person with symptoms produces a negative test.
- If you have tested positive for Covid-19 or have been deemed a close contact through a workplace contact, it is important that you contact the union office. You may qualify for short term disability (STD) or WSIB benefits. If you contracted Covid-19 outside the workplace, it may be beneficial to make a STD claim as the company will use your sick days before providing Covid-19 top-up pay. If you believe you have contracted Covid-19 from a workplace exposure, we want to make sure that you have a compensable claim with the WSIB so your sick days are not used. With conditions like Long-Covid and questions about the long term impact on our health from Covid-19, it is very important to file a claim with the WSIB for a workplace exposure. We can also help ensure close contacts are being identified in our workplace.
- Booster dose bookings open to everyone aged 18-49 Monday, December 20 at 8 a.m..
- Link to new isolation and testing requirements:https://www.
healthunit.com/covid-19- prevent-the-spread#self- isolate
- Link to book booster dose:https://www.
- Link to book a Cover-19 test: www.covidtestinglm.ca
- Mitigated Hazard Notification Bonus:
- As of mid-week we were sitting around 50% of our active members who had submitted a mitigated hazard. Derek Bamford and the other JHSC officers have been helping members submit and close out mitigated hazards. We have 2 weeks left to achieve 95% participation.
- As of Wednesday we were unofficially sitting 3rd in BEP rankings, and in the yellow zone for consumer complaints and GLY. If these results remained until the end of the year, we would achieve 75% on each of these 3 items.
- Issues with Manulife
- If you are having issues with the new policy number or with re-registering on-line, please contact the union office or Peter Rea on the People Team. We are seeing a number of issues on both fronts. We are escalating these issues to the Rewards department to rectify with Manulife.
- Winners of the Beer Raffle:
- 10 cases – retiree Jim King, 7 cases – retiree Tony McGucken, 3 cases – retiree Bubba Godden
- The raffle raised $1780. Thank you to all who participated.
- ECCO fund:
- Donated $500 toward the Labour Appreciation Awards Night. All proceeds go to the New Beginnings Fund – the fund gives small loans to support women with basic needs so that they can safely leave intimate partner abuse.
- Donated $500 to London Cares – a housing first intervention aimed at individuals experiencing chronic and persistent homelessness
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- The company published it’s long awaited vaccine policy Friday afternoon. We will review the policy next week.
- The next General Membership Meeting is tentatively booked for Tuesday, December 7.
- Reminder, the Holiday Party is Saturday, November 27 from 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.. All members, retirees, and temporary employees welcome. Proof of vaccine is required. We will be doing a beer raffle. Raffle tickets are for sale in the plant through various union officers. You don’t need to attend the party to win.
- Member training continues this Friday. We are working with the company to get members released for this training. As you know, we are very tight on manpower, and releases for training are a struggle.
- We welcomed some new officers this week. James Hill is our new Blue Crew Steward in Packaging, David Flute is the new Rock Crew Steward in Packaging, and Jess Boersema is our new JHSC Representative for Brewing. Pat Gehan will come to day shift to start his new role as Packaging Executive the week of December 6. The same week, Derek Bamford will start training with Chad More for JHSC Co-chair.
- The missed overtime grievances on the Pouch Line were referred to arbitration on Friday. These grievances are from 2020 when the company was not providing opportunities for seniority Packaging employees to be trained on the Pouch Line. 100s of hours in overtime opportunities were lost.
- Dana Braddon will be out on the shop floor next week speaking to members about the ECCO fund. Donating to the fund is a convenient way to give to various charities in our community. All donations are taken off your weekly pay, and are reflected on your year end T4. You have the option of picking a charity you’d like to direct your money to, or allow the union to pool your donation together with other members to make larger donations. All donations are submitted to the company to be matched. Recently, we have used the fund to give to 5 area food banks, buy back packs and school supplies to make some local indigenous children’s first day of school better, and for a donation to the Legion Poppy Fund.
- Blair Ward and I had a pre-grievance meeting with the People Team this week to discuss the Return to Work Flow Charts. We have had a few contentious issues recently around return to work. This is happening to members who are notifying front line managers that they will be off for non-occupational reasons, and for members who have been hurt in the workplace and do not have clearance from their doctors to return to work. We also had a temporary member suspended over a return to work issue. There may be some interpretation issues, but we feel there is also training gaps on the company side for their managers.
- Sime Peros is retiring December 1 after almost 34 years with the company. Please join me in wishing Sime all the best in the next chapter of his life!
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- On October 14 we had the first hearing date for a member who was terminated for a health and safety violation. 5 more days of hearings are booked between December 9, 2021 and March 4, 2022.
- A step 2 grievance meeting was held this week for a member who was found to be away from the work station on break for an extended period of time. The member had an active step 3 discipline for an unrelated matter. The company stacked the long break on top of the step 3 discipline and handed the member a step 4 discipline. In a similar case, we will be filing a grievance for excessive discipline for a member who was accused of sleeping on the line. The member had an unrelated active step 2 discipline. The company stacked the two disciplines together and delivered a step 3 discipline.
- Packaging management has posted a sign-up list for members to indicate jobs they are interested in learning. It is important that members interested in learning new jobs within packaging sign-up. The company will use this list to factor seniority into decisions about filling vacancies in the department.
- A member from Brewing was awarded the Central Stores Group Leader position. She will start training in this new role in November.
- It appears we came up short on the Mitigated Hazard Notification bonus. I have requested the list to verify, but we’re told we finished at 89% participation. For quarter 4, I encourage members to start putting in their mitigated hazards now vs. waiting until the final 2 weeks. The quality of the the mitigated hazards are reportedly improving quarter over quarter. Good work by all who did their part to make our workplace safer and attempt to achieve the bonus. Overall, we achieved 68.75%. If you worked the required hours, an operator would be paid $801.48 for a tier 2, and $950.95 for a tier 1. Trades who worked the required hours will receive between $1123.69 and $1264.16. An e-mail confirming bonus achievement, payment timing, and RRSP rollover option should be coming from the People Team shortly.
- Member training courses will be starting on November 5th. We hope to run a number of courses over the fall. The plan is to hold the training on Fridays, so members working C shift are able to attend. We are randomly selecting members who we believe can be released to attend the training. We are focusing on our lower seniority members, but are sprinkling in more senior members into each course. I will be in contact with details on the training for members selected.
- The current production plan is calling for the old can line to remain on double WWF into the New Year. The company would like to start bottle WWF this fall, but this is dependent on staffing levels. All good news for volume at our plant!
- Postings went up this week for Brewing JHSC Representative, and Blue, Rock, and WWF Stewards in Packaging. Postings will close on November 12.
- Hardship Fund cheques will be distributed the week of November 1.
- I’m pleased to announce that our Holiday Party at the Moose Lodge will go ahead this year on Saturday, November 27! All public health guidelines will be followed. More details to follow in the coming weeks.
- Lastly, we passed a motion at our last Union Executive Meeting to make a $1000 donation to the Legion Poppy Fund. The Legion in Exeter will kindly supply us with 2 new Remembrance Day flags that will be flown starting October 29.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- The end of September was very tough for our local. First we lost Brother Wayne Simpson. Wayne worked for Labatt and was a member of this union for 53+ years. Flowers were sent on behalf of our membership to his loving spouse Leonna. Leonna was very grateful the company shut the lines down on day shift to inform our members of Wayne’s passing and observe a moment of silence in his honour. Leonna shared that Wayne’s heart was in the Label Room in Packaging. Some members have requested we name the Label Room in Wayne’s honour. Here is Wayne’s obituary:https://lfpress.
- We also lost retiree Joe MacFarlane. Joe retired from Staging in 2017. Joe was loved by those who knew him in our membership. A visitation took place on Wednesday. The family is planning a celebration of life at a date to be determined. I will share the details when they are available. Joe’s obituary:https://lfpress.
- This week the company put out a link asking all employees to declare their vaccination status. I have attached the Ontario Human Rights Commissions OHRC) statement on vaccine mandates:http://www.ohrc.on.
ca/en/news_centre/ohrc-policy- statement-covid-19-vaccine- mandates-and-proof-vaccine- certificates. The OHRC has determined that mandating and requiring proof of vaccination is permissible in workplaces provided companies accommodate individual workers who are unable to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for Code-related reasons. The company has designated Peter Rea, People Manager to handle our vaccine status information. I have consulted with Local 2 on Peter being in charge of our vaccine status information, and have been advised this is permissible. Peter has been in charge of all COVID-19 related leaves since he arrived in London. The union is being consulted on a possible vaccine policy. Our desire is to see the company come out with a policy shortly after the vaccine status declaration stage ends to protect the health and safety of our members. We will be advocating for accommodations for those who refuse the vaccine for Code-related reasons, and for reasonable measures to be taken such as antigen testing or unpaid leave for those who refuse the vaccine for other reasons.
- Ballot counting for our elections will be delayed until Tuesday, October 19. This is to accommodate a re-issuing of ballots for the Packaging Executive election that is taking place on Monday, October 4. It was discovered that there was an error in ballot distribution for the Packaging Executive resulting in a need to re-issue ballots. My apologies to our candidates running for office who are anxious for the results.
- 7.01 and off shift talent issues are continuing in packaging. Discussions are ongoing with management to respect seniority and work life balance of our members.
- Overall, our brewery is doing well. Alex Martel announced this week that in 2022 we will be back to producing the most volume in the country. It appears bottle line WWF will be starting up again in the late fall/early winter. With 18 new hires, we have seen our full-time membership numbers exceed 250 for the first time in years with more hiring possible this winter. I was told that 2 electricians have accepted job offers as well. This is welcome news as we are very thin on electricians.
- Discussions are ongoing regarding a short extension on the Mitigated Hazard bonus. Before a short extension is agreed upon, we want to make sure the Hazard Notification Tool is working on all computers now. If you are aware of any ongoing issues with the Hazard Notification Tool please let me know ASAP. If we achieve 95% participation, we are looking at another quarter with a 93.75% achievement on the Variable Compensation Bonus. We currently sit at approximately 73% participation.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Hazard Notification Bonus – We sit at approximately 40% of the membership who have submitted a mitigated hazard. The deadline is September 30. At this time in June, with less then 2 weeks to go, we sat at 19% participation. This bonus is within reach. The next step in the process is to eliminate the hazards that are identified and mitigated. Chad More tells me that many more resources are required to achieve this goal. At Union/Management this week, we discussed the computer system change, and the barriers that have been created in members submitting hazards.
- A grievance will be filed next week regarding short term disability payments. Labatt took over the payments from Manulife as of July 1. We have seen significant delays in payments as anticipated. The company’s off-cycle payroll system leaves much to be desired. These delays are causing some of our members financial stress that is exasperating their disabling conditions.
- Step 2 grievance meetings were held in Packaging with the new manager Billy Boettcher. We discussed 7.01 of the collective agreement and the company’s obligation to factor seniority into job vacancies, and the need for a HACCP Cleaner on WWF. We also reviewed the outstanding dedicated can line proposal. This has been identified as a priority to Billy.
- General Membership Meeting summary:
- Nominations and Elections:
- Recording Secretary – 3 way election between Leigha Corbett, Scott Milne, and Rick Smith
- Packaging Executive – election between Darren Geddes and Pat Gehan
- Health and Safety Co-Chair – 3 way election between Derek Bamford, Bob Deen, and Ossie Molinari
- Trustee – 3 way election between John Barker, Mike Smith, and Steve Wesenger
- T/S JHSC Representative – election between Joe Pace and John Saunders
- Bud Crew Steward – Matt Jamieson acclaimed
- Bud Crew JHSC Like Representative – Todd McCallum acclaimed
- Blue Crew JHSC Like Representative – Lisa Anderson acclaimed
- Nominations were made for JHSC Like Representative in the Retail Store and T/S. I will need to follow up with these individuals to see if they are interested.
- Vacant offices – Brewing JHSC Representative and Staging Steward.
- Ballots for the election will go out on Friday, September 24, 2021 and will be counted on Friday, October 8, 2021. Only members in good standing will be eligible to vote. Please contact a union representative if you have not been sworn in, paid your initiation fee or provided proof of being a member in good standing at a prior local.
- Hardship Fund – A motion was unanimously passed to stop member contributions on the fund effective Monday, September 13. The fund will be paid out to the membership as a benefit top-up to cover current and future health care expenses. Amounts will be determined by seniority date. Cheques are expected to be ready for pick-up in the Union Office by the end of the year.
- 60/40 proposal was unanimously ratified by the membership to remove the 60/40 agreement in Staging and amend the black out language in the brewery. This agreement has resulted in 6 section 12 postings in Staging, and an agreement to hire 2 Shunter Apprentices. QC rework will become a shared task between Packaging and Staging. A number of grievances in Staging were resolved including an unjust discipline, contracting out of shunting work, Keg Line manpower, and Packaging doing Staging work.
- Dirka Prout, London North Centre NDP candidate attended our meeting and spoke about climate change, the homeless crisis, opioid crisis, pharmacare, anti scab legislation, taxing the ultra wealthy, and so much more! SEIU Local 2 is supporting Dirka Prout, Shawna Lewkowitz, Lindsay Mathyssen, Jason Henry, Katelyn Cody and the entire NDP team.
- Vaccine policy was discussed with SEIU Local 2 President David Bridger. A policy is on the way. We are waiting on the company to do their legal work before proceeding with discussions. Members who have chosen not to receive the vaccine are encouraged to do so ASAP. Here is information on the upcoming proof of vaccine coming to certain businesses and settings in Ontario as of September 22, 2021: https://covid-19.ontario.ca
- The Tank Cleaner job has returned to the Brewing department. This is a welcome development. Chad More has accepted this role.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Brewing update from Scott Baldwin: Congratulations to Eddie Plain for being awarded one the millwright apprentice positions. With Eddie’s pending transfer, there is now a BPO posting up for brewing.
- One bump canvass was completed this week. Movements will happen after the Staging and BPO postings close.
- We have been told the company will be taking 3 people from the current Brewing posting.
- I attended a special call SEIU Local 2 board meeting Friday. The agenda had two items; mandatory vaccines in the workplace and Federal Election support. I’m pleased to report the board unanimously is supporting the NDP. We are encouraging members to support your local NDP candidate by requesting a lawn sign, volunteering or donating to their campaign. On mandatory vaccines in the work place, a motion was passed that employers who do not have a vaccine policy, risk failing to meet their obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Vaccines help reduce the risk of workplace transmission of the COVID-19 virus and can be an important part of an effective occupational health and safety strategy in the context of the pandemic. Employers must offer reasonable accommodation to employees who refuse the vaccination on legitimate protected
grounds(religious, medical reasons) up to the point of undue hardship. For those who refuse the vaccine for other reasons, we will advocate for reasonable measures to be considered such as antigen testing or unpaid leave of absence depending on the workplace. How this applies in our brewery will have to be discussed as a local and with the company.
- Four grievances were settled in Packaging this week. The most notable being a step 4 discipline with a one week suspension being reduced to a step 1 discipline with the one week of wages being returned.
- We were able to work with the company on fair outcomes for disciplines of 3 Packaging members around a lock out/tag out violation. 3 non-skilled trades were asked to use a generic conveyor SOP to lock out a conveyor that was to be cleaned. While there were deficiencies by the operators that were involved, three locks were applied and a bump test performed. Unfortunately, the operators locked out the two conveyors before the conveyor they were cleaning and the conveyor after they were cleaning. The bump test failed to identify that the conveyor they were going to be cleaning was not locked out. I have spoken with the company and Ossie Molinari our Packaging JHSC Representative about this situation. I believe we need to develop task specific SOPs for known conveyors that operators are required to interact with. For conveyors operators may have to interact with in special circumstances, a procedure greater then a generic conveyor SOP is needed to ensure the correct disconnects are locked out.
- Discussions broke down with the company this week regarding WWF employees coming in to rework QC holds Monday-Friday. Adam Wehrle asked for us to agree to by-pass Monday-Friday Packaging Operators on the overtime polling protocol so they would have hours available to be forced to work production overtime on the weekend if needed. The weekend overtime is still on the table for other departments to come to packaging to rework the holds. We are waiting for a response from the company on the polling protocol we proposed.
- A joint investigation between the company and union will be starting next week regarding a manager who allegedly was removing wicks from the WBGT’s and moving portacool fans toward a WBGT, affecting the temperature reading and ultimately the length of heat relief members were receiving If you encounter a situation where you believe WBGT’s are being tampered with, please notify a health and safety representative or union steward. We had at least one member have to seek medical for heat related illness last week. Remember to drink plenty of fluids and take heat breaks as needed.
- Reminder to look over the various postings up in the plant right now. There are postings for Staging, Brewing, Brewing BPO, Electrical Apprentice, and Shunting Apprentice. You are not obligated to take one of these posting if you apply, but if you don’t apply, you will not be considered.
- Congratulations to Allan Lafleur who retired this week! Allan has worked in the packaging department since 2010. We wish Allan the very best in the next chapter of his life.
- I am on vacation this week. Blair Ward is covering the union office.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Arbitrator Randy Levinson was selected to hear a member’s termination arbitration. This case will begin on October 14, 2021.
- We reached a tentative agreement with the company to replace the 60/40 manpower formula for the staging department with a blackout formula similar to packaging and brewing. In addition to the elimination of the 60/40 manpower formula, we tentatively agreed to a number of grievance settlements in staging, and a new shunter agreement which will see an opportunity for seniority employees in the brewery to train to become a truck driver. In this tentative agreement, a minimum of six jobs are posted for staging. The executive will bring the agreement for approval to the September General Membership meeting on September 11, 2021.
- Talks continue in Packaging on the Can Line Manpower agreement. There is a difference of opinion on how many people it will take to staff the new can line. We are also discussing the manpower configuration at the palletizer and new can depal. Much more discussion is needed outside of the Can Line Manpower agreement around items such as PFD staffing, staging staffing, and shunting staffing with the new line starting up in the fall.
- We made a without precedence agreement this week to allow the company to select two millwright apprentices and post for an electrical apprentice while our current electrical apprentice is finishing up his apprenticeship. The collective agreement only allows for 1 apprentice per trade. The company and union understand the role we can play in helping develop skilled trades to help with the shortage that exists in the market. The company committed to hire all the apprentices from the membership, addressing one of the main reason we had the 1 per trade cap in place. Congratulations to Andy Plain and Stephen Wilcox Jr. on their selection as our 2 new millwright apprentices.
- The company has made offers to settle a few individual grievances in packaging. We are working with the the individuals involved on a response during the coming week.
- A grievance meeting is needed with the incoming packaging manager to discuss the application of article 7.01 of the collective agreement when job vacancies occur in the packaging department.
- This week the company announced an unprecedented pay program for the next six weeks to incentivize employees to work overtime. Much of this overtime is need on the bottle line. Over the past number of months we have been advocating for the company to leave at least one bottle WWF crew on. The company chose to pull off both WWF crews and hire students this summer. Now with the students going back to school in a couple weeks, they do not have the manpower to go back to bottle WWF. In addition to the need for bottle production, there is also a reported 500 pallets on hold that they want to have reworked to get out to the market. We started discussions with the company on a way to get this product reworked. There is an opportunity on the table to allow workers in all departments and on WWF an ability to take advantage of the additional pay being offered for overtime to rework this product. More discussions are needed with the company to figure out the fairest way to divide up these overtime opportunities.
- Lastly, the union executive passed a motion to use $2000 from the ECCO fund to once again participative in the ‘Best First Day’ community school supplies drive. We will buy school supplies and then attend the event where back packs get stuffed with supplies. The loaded back backs are then delivered to children in need in the Oneida Nation of the Thames, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation, and Munsee-Delaware Nation. Sadly, the need this year appears to be at an all time high. We would not be able to participate in a charity program like this without our members contributions to the ECCO fund. Thank you.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Company agreed to add 5 business days to the Production Fork Truck Driver position. Applications are now being accepted until July 26.
- 2 grievances were filed in packaging this week. A group grievance for the Keg Line back-up position and a policy grievance over article 7.01 of the collective agreement. I reported last week that we had a productive conversation with Olivia Currier to resolve these two matters. Unfortunately, Adam Wehrle was not interested in further discussion on his obligations under 7.01.
- 2 – step 2 meetings were held in packaging this week. One grievance was for a HACCP cleaner to be scheduled during WWF shifts. WWF operators health and safety is being compromised by this position not being scheduled. Drive lanes and walk ways are not being scrubbed, and slimy floors are not be cleaned and controlled. The Hazard Notification Tool is littered with slip and trip hazards. Members feel that we need the HACCP cleaner there on all shifts to keep everyone safe. The other grievance was regarding a staging operator being trained on handling bulk glass. The issue of staging potentially handling bulk glass has not been agreed upon.
- V.P. and Grievance Chair, Blair Ward and I had a meeting with Local 2 this week regarding our grievances that have been referred to arbitration. Currently we have a termination and benefit case in arbitrator selection.
- Maintenance Executive, Al Gallien worked on getting more electricians scheduled on area coverage. We have had 3 electricians quit in the last couple months and have not replaced them. This is causing our electricians to receive a lot of extra shifts and area positions left uncovered. Hopefully some of the changes Al has proposed will provide a bit of short term relief, but we need more electricians hired.
- Al Gallien also advocated in Packaging Maintenance Union Management this week to leave as many trades as possible on WWF going forward. When the can line comes off WWF, these trades could be scheduled to perform weekly maintenance when the lines are down.
- The company is still waiting for the BEP scores to be finalized. It seems likely we are gong to finish in position 3 or 4 in the country on BEP. This would put us at approximately 94% total achievement on our 4 targets for the first 2 quarters.
- I will be on vacation for the next two weeks. Blair Ward will be covering the union office.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Quarterly Bonus – Congratulations to all for achieving the Hazard Notification bonus. Many important hazards were identified over the last 6 weeks. The JHSC will now have to work with the company to turn these ‘mitigated hazards’ into controlled and eliminated hazards. Special thanks to JHSC Staging Representative, Steve Vanderwerf for his hard work and passion to work with our members to enter hazards, help with mitigation ideas, and clarifying hazards to get them approved during the closing days of the quarter. Overall, we have a chance of achieving 100% of our bonus for the first 2 quarters of the year. My understanding is we are waiting on BEP ranking to come in. The bonus will be paid out in August.
- We held our monthly union executive
meeting on Thursday. We spent time prioritizing grievances for arbitration. Myself and Grievance Chair, Blair Ward will be meeting with the National Union Local 2 to discuss arbitrating these matters. We also set a plan to bring a recommendation on next steps with the Hardship Fund to the membership during the September General Membership Meeting for a vote.
- A Step 2 meeting was held in Packaging this week for a member unjustly disciplined for a job performance issue on the Pouch Line. This is a very important case, as the discipline brought the member to the brink of termination with a step 4 discipline. Also of interest in this case is our discipline grid. The company is attempting to stack this unjust job performance discipline on top of another unrelated discipline for health and safety.
- We held a pre-grievance meeting in Packaging this week. It has been discovered the company is not factoring seniority into job vacancies. In the past they have used one to one’s to compile lists of jobs that members are interested in learning as vacancies come up. Alternatively, the company has in the past posted sign-up lists. Neither of these methods are being used currently. The company hand picked a member for the keg line this week, and was considering doing the same for HACCP Cleaner. We had a productive discussion with Olivia Currier yesterday, and are hoping to rectify this issue next week.
- Two Member Training courses have been held over the last 2 weeks. The training went well. Lots of great discussion and learning. We look forward to having many more training session in the fall.
- A new job posting went up this week for Bud Crew Production Fork Truck Driver. This is a plant wide section 12 posting. Please note, Peter Rea, the People Manager is attempting to change the length of time that section 12 jobs are posted in packaging. This posting is only up for 10 business days, vs. the 15 days required.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- Another very tough week with the heartbreaking discovery of 751 more unmarked graves. This time by the Cowessess First Nation at the former Marieval Residential School in Saskatchewan. This Canada Day, may we pause from our regular celebrations to face the reckoning from the ongoing horrific discoveries of children torn from their families and buried at these schools. We must stand in solidarity with Indigenous peoples, listening and facing the truth of Canada’s history and ongoing colonialism, and be committed to working to address and undo these harms.
- This coming week, we will put our first group of 4 members through a new union member training that was developed by our local. I am really looking forward to delivering this new curriculum and having a day of listening and learning from each other. The union executive has made a commitment to use our negotiated education days to put as many members as we can through this one day training over the next year.
- I received and update on the Mitigated Hazard Notification bonus for the combined first two quarters. As of Friday at 8 a.m., we sat at 70% participation. We are reaching out to members who are not recorded as participating yet to see if we can assist. We are getting close to achieving this portion of the bonus while continuing to make our workplace safer.
- There are still a few #OurLondonFamily signs in the union office, brewing lunch room, staging warehouse entrance, and packaging lunch room. Reminder, these are free for you to take and display proudly at your homes.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- I represented our local this week at the 29th Constitutional Convention of the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC). The convention was held virtually. A new president was elected, Bea Bruske. She has a very monumental task ahead of her. CLC membership is down close to 20% since the last convention in 2017. Unifor and Teamsters have both left, and union density is shrinking in Canada. She will need to unite the house of labour and attract new workers to our movement. Many important policy papers, constitutional changes, and resolutions were debated and passed. To read more about the convention: https://www.globenewswire.
com/news-release/2021/06/18/ 2249849/0/en/Canada-s-unions- elect-new-leaders-to-help- chart-a-hopeful-post-pandemic- future-for-workers.html
- A packaging member was returned to work this week after a lengthy investigation period for alleged health and safety violations. The member and the company reached an agreement satisfactory to the member.
- Step 2 grievance meetings were held in staging this week. A member was unjustly disciplined when they chose to go home on a voluntary overtime shift after the job they volunteered for was no longer available, and the manager tried to re-assign them to another job. The same member was paid incorrectly when they went home.
- Our monthly Union and Management Meeting was held. Much of the discussion centred around the Mitigated Hazard Notification portion of the quarterly bonus. As a membership, we have a lot of work to do to achieve this portion of the bonus for quarter 1 and 2. Our participation numbers are well below the required 95%. This does not mean that members have not been mitigating hazards. We mitigate hazards routinely. Any hazard that you have mitigated since January 1 is eligible to be submitted into the tool. If you do not know how to use the tool, or have a question about the process, please speak with your health and safety representative, union steward, or manager. This target is achievable. Regardless, I’m pleased that we are focusing on the mitigation and elimination of hazards in our workplace.
- The company has not provided the letter they prepared for Canadian Border Services on behalf of the 6 workers who are visiting a USA brewery. We do not know if these workers will be required to isolate for 14 days when they cross back into Canada this weekend.
- The PSR was completed on the Pouch Line last weekend. Chad and I are meeting with Alex Martel and Jillian Wheatley next week to discuss the year and a half the line ran without the PSR being completed.
- Happy Father’s Day to all local 1 Dads!
215 murdered indigenous childrenThe remains of 215 children, including some as young as three, have been found in a mass grave on the grounds of a former residential school in Kamloops BC, that was once part of a nationwide effort in Canada to separate Indigenous children from their families in an attempt to assimilate them.The residential schools all over Canada were a systematic, government sponsored way to destroy Aboriginal cultures and languages so that Aboriginal peoples no longer existed as distinct peoples.The purpose of Day schools, Industrial schools and Indian Residential Schools was to force Indigenous Peoples of Canada embrace Western values and Christianity. Missionaries of all denominations were involved in the cause of Christianizing and civilizing the Indigenous Peoples in CanadaThe residential school system in Canada served as mandatory boarding schools for indigenous youth and were run by churches and the federal government for 150 years during the 19th and 20th centuries.What happened at the schools amounted to “cultural genocide” in every way.Conditions at the schools were poor. Children were often not allowed to speak their own language and received harsh punishment if they did. Many suffered physical, sexual abuse, illness, malnutrition and poor hygienic conditions with staff not being held accountable.The sad history of our indigenous peoples in Canada is well knownThe Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery saying the remains were found after working with a “ground penetrating radar specialist” to confirm the mass grave at the Kamloops Indian Residential School.This discovery shook this country to the realization and depth of the horrific way we have treated our Native Canadian’s. We can only hope to address these issues, learn from them, make restitutions and respect this vital culture.June 21 is National Indigenous People’s Day. Let’s all take a moment this day to acknowledge, remember and celebrate and stand with our First Nation’s People.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- What an emotional week for our community. Branch Local 1 shares the grief and shock being experienced by many in London and by the Muslim community in the aftermath of the hate crime perpetrated against a family who lost four members on Sunday, June 6. Our thoughts are with their relatives, friends, colleagues and all those who are struggling to cope with this horrific and devastating act of violence. We call for solidarity with the family and the Muslim community, and we join with all of the voices who are demanding a comprehensive investigation into this crime, and calling for action to address Islamophobia.
- This week was your local executive board’s monthly meeting. At the meeting we passed 2 motions; $500 donation to The London Community Against Hate Campaign, and the purchase of 50 #Our London Family lawn signs with the outline of the 4 family members who were murdered. These signs will be available in the union office free of charge for members who would like to display one on their lawns or in a window. Please contact me if you would like a sign.
- Your Health and Safety Committee pushed for additional precautions from the company for 5 of our members and one manager who are traveling to the USA to visit a can line. We do not view this trip as an essential reason to cross the border. Ultimately, Sidel is responsible to get the new can line running, not these 6 employees. We asked to push the trip back until border restrictions change or participants are fully vaccinated. The company is proceeding with the trip. I know many are concerned with what happens when these employees return back from the USA. We recommended a 14 day isolation period regardless of Health Canada’s decision. We have also requested the letter that the company is providing to the border agents deeming this trip essential. Anyone who has concerns should discuss with their manager and health and safety representative.
- During the Joint Health and Safety Committee meeting yesterday, it was discovered that a PSR was not completed on the Pouch Line. This line has run for a year and a half without this requirement being completed. Questions need to be answered over this health and safety violation. My understanding is the Pouch Line is down for required safety devices to be installed. Chad More has been asking the company for this PSR dating back to February.
A statement from SEIU Equality Representative Pam Diggs:
Happy Pride Month!!!The Pride London Festival is scheduled to start July 15 and run until July 25. This year will be mainly a virtual event like last year, with some outdoor events celebrating the diversity, culture & pride of the LGBTQ2+ community for 30+ years!November 2020 a new president and vice was elected. A couple of first for our community are our London Festival President Stephen D’Amelio Pride’s first Black president and Amanda Pearson, the organization’s new vice-president, is the first transgender person to serve in the role. This will bring an exciting and fresh new perspective to the festival.Both have been avid participants in the community and with Pride and are thrilled to be in these roles. Amanda is proud to be the first transgender person to serve as Vice-president for Pride London.This year, after many years of non participation the London Police with the festival, Pride London has welcomed the London Police Service to participate in this year’s Virtual Pride Celebration. This is a positive step for both organizations, and they look forward to continuing to strengthen the partnership in the months and years to come.The sworn and civilian members of the London Police Service are proud allies of the LGBTQ2S+ community, and we know that our strength as a city and as a community lies in our diversity and our ability to work together to achieve inclusiveness and equality for all.D’Amelio says the board has been busy finalizing details for the 2021 festival, which will once again have a focus on virtual and outdoor events.One of the other new initiatives is the Pride London Network.The virtual online network gives community members a safe way to engage and be a part of Pride London Festival throughout the year. Check out the official websiteCelebrate Pride ️
Sisters and Brothers,
I hope that you and your families are Healthy and doing well during these times. With the Covid numbers getting better and more people getting vaccinated I hope that our lives will slowly start returning to somewhat of a normal state. Much has happened since my last communication to you. I hope to capture some things in this blog.
I am sure by now, I am hoping, that you have heard some new acronyms around the brewery from the Health and Safety committee. Those are Management of Change (MOC) & Pre Start Review (PSR). These are very important. I will attempt to give a brief overview of each.
A MOC is something that takes place when criteria are met. An example would be a new counter balance lift truck (forklift), like the new single double in staging. This new piece of equipment required an MOC. The folks involved in the testing ie Trainers, H&S and manager all took part in the MOC. The MOC is basically a massive checklist. Ensuring nothing has been missed with this new equipment when brought onsite and ensuring it is safe, meets all required Health and Safety standards. As well any changes from this equipment compared to what we currently have onsite and in use. Again this is a brief snap shot. Basically almost any significant change requires this. If in doubt ask your H&S rep.
The other big one is a Pre Start Review (PSR). This is a requirement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Under the Ont. Reg. Section 7 Industrial regs. It is all laid out there. Basically any new equipment, certain modifications to existing equipment etc would require a PSR done by a Professional Engineer (P. ENG) who has a stamp/seal with his/her P. ENG number on it. This is done with an H&S rep present, typically the trades and the project manager as well. A report is given after the visit and sometimes more modifications are required before the P. ENG will stamp it in order to run production. During the early stages the equipment can run BUT FOR TRIAL PURPOSES ONLY!! For many years these did not happen. I am now being invited to MOC’s. We have a significant backlog of PSR’s that we have asked the company for with no response as of yet. Very Frustrating.
We as workers in the Province of Ontario have 3 basic rights. Right to Know, Right to Participate and the Right to refuse. The right to know is your H&S committee and others asking for these PSR’s or MOC. Reason being is we want to know what hazards we are working with etc. A good example of this is the nitrogen being stored and blowing off at the pouch/keg line. No one that I have spoken to has been made aware of working in that area with these nitrogen tanks and some even blowing off. No one was made aware of the risks associated with nitrogen. When leaked from the tank it eats oxygen and the room can become oxygen deficient. If you touched the leaking Nitorgen you could get frost bite and severe burns. Many new people work in this area and not knowing the hazards is a major risk. Don’t be afraid to ask someone if you see something that doesn’t look right. Chances are it isn’t.
On the topic of the pouch line we have seen a rise in incidents there. This is not good, this is part of the reason we want to see the PSR. These incidents are a range of things. As well a physical demands has not been done for these jobs which affects the heat stress relief.
Lastly, we as you all well know have had a great change in our H&S bonus structure and I have spoken to many, not all, but many of you and discussed the significance of this change. It is in my opinion from an H&S perspective a win for H&S and it addresses real H&S. Hazards. If we can find hazards, report them and fix them we should see a decline in the medical treatments or first aids. Reporting hazards or unsafe conditions is a requirement of the Occupational Health and Safety act Section 28(1)(C)(D). These are duties of an employee. The company has chosen to use the Territorial Hazard Notification Tool as it’s way to capture these hazards. It does not matter how they chose to capture, it is a requirement from you the worker to report. Again, this is a big win for us and identifying hazards should bring H&S to the forefront and eliminate H&S going underground. If you have any questions please let me know I would be more than happy to walk you through it.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- It will be very hot for the next few days. Members are reminded to monitor themselves for signs of heat stress, and drink plenty of water. Sqwincher is also available. If you are unsure of heat break entitlements, please check the union boards for information or check with a health and safety representative. Please look out for our students and newer employees. Remember, if you are feeling unwell at anytime due to the heat, notify a manager and get to a cool place to take a break.
- A Step 2 grievance meeting was held in Staging for untrained operators being asked to work on the keg line.
- A Step 1 grievance meeting was held in Packaging for an operator who was given a step 4 discipline for job performance. The member was previously on a step 3 discipline for a health and safety violation. The company stacked the unrelated disciplines, which we feel is a violation of our discipline grid.
- Members of the union executive took part in a zoom meeting with the Canadian Brewery Workers Alliance (CBWA). This is an alliance of unions who represent workers at the 6 Labatt Breweries. The meeting was very informative for all in attendance.
- Health and Safety concerns continued this week on the Pouch Line. Nitrogen Tanks were found blowing off. In addition to displacing oxygen, they were frosted and became a burn hazard. These tanks were in the open, close to a pedestrian walk way. Your health and safety committee found a well ventilated space with an exhaust and oxygen sensors, away from workers to store these tanks.
- Lawyer, Rob Logue from SEIU Local 2 visited the union office and toured the palletizer area as we prepare for our next termination arbitration. Arbitrator selection has began.
- It was discovered this week, that a number of licenses and certifications in hoisting and rigging, fork lifts, propane handling, and pallet trucks have become expired. Also, some of our newer electricians have not received First Aid and CPR training. Management has been notified. Please check your licenses and certifications to see if you are expired. Notify management immediately if you are expired.
- We were notified this week that Labatt payroll will be issuing payment for Weekly Indemnity(WI) starting July 1(for new claims only). It appears, our concerns around timely payments to members, have been addressed. Once your claim has been approved by Manulife, an off cycle payment will be made by Labatt Payroll.
From the desk of President Jeff Robinson:
- We’ve had 4 health and safety incidents on the Pouch Line in the last 2 weeks. A cut finger, burn, allergic reaction, and a sleeve caught in conveyor. The health and safety committee is looking very closely at all aspects of the Pouch Line. I spoke to Alex Martel about crew production competitions on the Pouch Line. The union does not support these type of initiatives that put production ahead of health and safety and quality. Retroactive rewards for a job well done is one thing, but incentivizing people to produce more on a particular shift encourages people to take short cuts. We are paid by the hour, not piecemeal.
- The company invited the union executive to a presentation of auto polling. The union executive will discuss what was presented at our next meeting.
- The grievance over termination estimates for members in the defined benefit pension plan was resolved. Members in this pension plan will be able to receive one termination estimate in their career paid for by the company.
- A member in technical services had their discipline expunged for unauthorized usage of a cell phone.
- May saw three members retire. Craig Short, Paul Hicks, and Kevin Woodison. We congratulate them on their retirement and wish them the best in the next chapter of their lives.