Flex-N-Gate employees ratify new contract
The workers had voted to strike if a new agreement wasn't reached
Employees at Flex-N-Gate in Lakeshore are staying on the job after they ratified a collective agreement Saturday.
Emile Nabbout, vice president of Unifor Local 195, said the contract was approved with a 64 per cent in-favour vote.
According to Nabbout, 95 per cent of the membership showed up to vote.
Flex-N-Gate employees had voted 97 per cent to strike at the end of March if a collective agreement wasn't reached before the previous agreement expired at the end of April.
"Our committee focused a lot on how to remain competitive," said Nabbout about the bargaining team's negotiations. "As well as some commitment from the company to invest in the facility."
The collective agreement includes a pay increase "across the board," but Nabbout said that doesn't make everyone happy.
"Some border-line employees are not happy. They're frustrated," said Nabbout. "The 64 per cent, some of the employees expected to get paid the rate of pay like everyone else."
A progressive pay structure means there is a significant pay gap between new and veteran employees, which Nabbout attributes to a "crisis" in 2008 and 2009. Nabbout said it was hard to bargain with the uncertainty of what is happening with the FCA Windsor Assembly Plant.
"The gain we made was that we had everybody get an increase in the wage," said Nabbout. The collective bargaining agreement also secures eight emergency sick or leave days for employees.
"Windsor's going through some tough times," said Nabbout. "We sympathize with the employees who did not agree with this collective agreement."
Flex-N-Gate produces frame rails for vehicles of Fiat Chrysler. The new agreement is a three-year deal.
With files from Katerina Georgieva