Employees at Eacom Timber Corp. have a new six-year collective agreement, which includes improvements to the pension and benefits plan.

The lumber operation employs 160 people at its Timmins, Ont. mill and regional administrative centre, 110 of whom are members of the United Steelworkers Local 1-2010.

Prior to the agreement, employees contributed a mandatory $120 to their defined contribution plan each month, while the employer doubled that contribution at $240. On ratification, the monthly contributions will rise to $130 for employees and $260 for the employer. It will increase again on Sept. 1, 2021 — $140 per employee and $280 for the employer — and Sept. 1, 2022 — $160 per employee and $320 for the employer.

Read: VIA Rail, Unifor collective bargaining includes strengthening pension plan

The collective agreement also includes increases to a pension bridging supplement for workers who retire between ages 60 and 65, according to the union. The existing pension supplement is $16 per month, per year of service. It will increase to $18 a month on Sept. 1, 2020 and will steadily rise until Sept. 1, 2024, when it reaches $25 a month.

The agreement also includes coverage under the prescription drug plan and life insurance plan for employees who retire early, until they reach age 65. Previously, workers who retired before age 65 weren’t covered under the plan.

“Members of the United Steelworkers Local 1-2010 are satisfied with the agreement that was presented to them, as it was ratified,” said Jacques Jean, the local’s president, in a press release. “As always, the union is looking for an agreement that is fair and beneficial for both parties and we believe that this was achieved during this round of negotiations. Now it’s time to continue building on and improving the already good relation, communication, trust and collaboration between the parties.”

Read: Pension, benefits maintained as Ontario mine workers ratify collective agreement

Other improvements in the new agreement include additional vacation pay of $100 per week, on top of regular vacation pay, with a maximum vacation entitlement of six weeks per year. It also includes a general wage increase of two per cent on ratification and a further two per cent on Sept. 1, 2020, followed by 2.5 per cent on Sept. 1, 2021, 2.5 per cent on Sept. 1, 2022, 2.75 per cent on Sept. 1, 2023 and three per cent on Sept. 1, 2024.

In addition to these general wage increases, the agreement also includes some job-specific pay adjustments: an additional $0.75 an hour for trades positions; an additional $1 per hour for runners and lead hands; an additional $0.40 an hour for all production employees; and an additional $0.50 an hour on Sept. 1, 2020 for trades positions.

“The speed at which we reached this agreement is a testament to the level of collaboration and trust between both parties and our willingness to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution,” said Wade Zammit, chief operating officer at Eacom. “Our people are at the centre of our operations and the focus we place on taking care of them is what makes the sawmill such an attractive place to work.”

Read: Western Forest Products to cut health benefits for striking staff

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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