Improved benefits, bereavement leave in new contract for Manitoulin hotel workers

Manitoulin Hotel and Conference Centre employees will see a 55 per cent increase in their health benefits reimbursement amount and an additional day of bereavement as part of their newly ratified union contract.

The contract, which covers 55 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1006A, will run from Dec. 31, 2018 to December 2022.

Ric Pereira, the union representative and lead negotiator, says there was a strong consensus among members to accept the deal. “Often [when] collective agreements are ratified . . . they’re ratified but it leaves you with divided opinions among the group,” he says. “In this case, the deal was ratified at 95 per cent so it was definitely unified in approving the agreement.”

Read: What do Canada’s provinces offer around bereavement leave?

Under the new contract, part-time employees will see their health benefits reimbursement increase from $225 to $350 per year. Full-time employees will see a bump from $300 to $500.

The benefits agreement is distinct because the hotel is a unique employer as a joint venture between five local First Nations groups, notes Pereira. Between 80 and 90 per cent of employees are Indigenous and have access to benefits through Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

The union and hotel have agreed to sit down between July 1 and Sept. 30, 2020, to discuss a more standardized benefits plan for all workers and evaluate various providers’ offerings, says Pereira. “We have an understanding with the company that . . . they are, or will be, looking into traditional benefits plans.”

Read: CN, United Steelworkers’ agreement includes improved dental, health benefits

Employees will also receive an additional day of bereavement leave, taking the total up to four per year. Full-time staff will receive five days of paid sick leave per year and part-time employees will get three, which the contract notes can be used for sickness, dental or doctor’s appointments, or for a dependant’s illness.

“Where we were looking for improvements, we believe we were successful,” says Pereira.

The contract also secured employees a 2.35 per cent pay raise per year, for a total of 10 per cent over the contract term. Union members have already received retroactive raises for the first two months of the year, in relation to hours worked.

Read: Will the return of Ontario’s sick note add complexities for employers?