The union representing employees at a Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing Ltd. plant in Guelph, Ont. has ratified an agreement that includes pension and benefits gains.

Unifor Local 1917 Hitachi unit members voted 95 per cent in favour of the three-year collective agreement, which includes a $0.25 contribution increase to the defined benefit pension plan, from $50.50 to $50.75 per month per year of service. In addition, members of the defined contribution pension plan will receive a six per cent company match at four years instead of at five years.

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The deal also includes improved health benefits, including increased spending in dental, eyewear and dispensing fee coverage and five days of paid domestic violence leave.

All non-skilled trades members will receive a six per cent raise in the first year of the contract, while skilled trades members will receive $2 raise in year one followed by an additional $0.50 raise in years two and three, respectively. The agreement also guarantees current members historic ‘no layoffs’ language for the duration of the contract.

“This is an incredible deal that you don’t see very often,” said Jerry Escott, president of Local 1917 and Hitachi plant chair, in a press release. “We’ve seen a lot of changes in Hitachi over the last couple of years. We went from 300 employees to 20 and were in danger of closing, but we’ll be building more trucks. This will start bringing workers back.”

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