Thunder Bay

Employees at Dryden's Hoshizaki House shelter sign 2-year agreement

Workers at Hoshizaki House, a Dryden, Ont.-based shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence, have a new contract.

Unifor says 78% of workers voted to ratify the deal last Friday

About 20 employees at Hoshizaki House shelter for women and children voted 78 per cent in favour of ratifying a two-year collective agreement last week, Unifor says. (unifor.org)

Workers at Hoshizaki House, a Dryden, Ont.-based shelter for women and children escaping domestic violence, have a new contract.

Seventy-eight per cent of the about 20 Unifor members voted Friday to ratify the two-year deal, the union said.

The contract includes:

  • Wage increases (1.75 per cent in the first year and two per cent in the second).
  • Increased employer pension contributions.
  • Improved mileage and meal allowances.
  • Expanded benefits.

"We actually ended up going through conciliation this time," Unifor national representative Stephen Boon said Monday. The negotiations were "a little more bumpy" than previous ones, "but through the conciliation process, we were able to avoid any elevation to a strike vote or anything like that."

The new contract is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020, and will be in effect until Dec. 31, 2022.

Agreement a relief given the need

Boon said the contract was welcome news, as demand for the services provided by agencies like Hoshizaki House has risen during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic over a year ago.

"There's been a major uptick across the country with domestic violence ... just because of the stress and anxiety, so that was another motivation to try to get something done.

"We're pleased to get it done, because obviously our members have a lot more issues to focus on in terms of dealing with all the increased workload and stress, related to the COVID-19 outbreak."

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