Strike mandate delivers significant benefit improvements and retro pay

Bargaining bulletin

Late Tuesday night, the HEU-Aramark bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement with the employer for a four-year contract, with the assistance of top mediator Vince Ready.

During two days of intense negotiations, it was clear Aramark wanted to reach a deal. The company felt pressure from the 97 per cent strike mandate, along with member-led work site leafleting and increased media publicity.

As a result of these member actions, Aramark was forced to move on key compensation issues. It dropped its demand to keep 70 per cent of the savings from the $270,000 identified during negotiations that would result from moving members to a PharmaCare program. Under the tentative deal, 100 per cent will now go into improving member benefits.

Aramark was also originally unwilling to pay retroactive pay the last time the bargaining committee met with the employer. By late Tuesday, the parties agreed to raise pay to $15.20 an hour effective Oct. 1, 2012. And there will be further raises to $15.35 per hour on Oct. 1, 2013, $15.45 per hour on April 1, 2014, $15.65 per hour on April 1, 2015, $15.90 per hour on Oct. 1, 2015 and $16 per hour on April 1, 2016.

Benefits will also be significantly improved. Extended medical, paramedical treatments and other existing benefits will be boosted. Major dental coverage will be added on Jan. 1, 2014, and orthodontic coverage will be added to the plan on Sept. 1, 2016.

As for measures to improve respect and dignity on the job, in June Aramark agreed to new language promoting a respectful work site that formally prohibits verbal, visual or physical harassment.

Ratification votes will be scheduled for later in October where members will get a chance to vote on the package.

Strike votes continue for Compass-Marquise members until Oct. 3. Sodexo members begin ratification votes on their tentative deal on Oct. 3, as well.

Members to vote on tentative deal

Members will now decide whether or not to accept the proposed contract. Your bargaining committee recommends acceptance.

A comprehensive report with full details of the agreement is being prepared for members to review, and ratification votes will be scheduled in the near future.

Meeting notices and the voting schedule will be posted on union bulletin boards and online here on the HEU website.