Montebello Packaging in Hawkesbury and its employees have a new four-year contract resulting from early negotiations between the company and the United Steelworkers Local 6565.
Montebello Packaging in Hawkesbury and its employees have a new four-year contract resulting from early negotiations between the company and the United Steelworkers Local 6565.

Montebello Packaging and USW strike new deal

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Workers at the Montebello Packaging plant in Hawkesbury have a new contract.

The United Steelworkers Canada Local 6565 (USW) voted to ratify a new four-year agreement with Montebello Packaging in Hawkesbury. The USW issued a news release September 14 announcing the deal.

The new agreement reverses the two-tier wage system the company had for employees at the plant and provides for pay increases for many of the workers that will range from $3 to $7 more per hour by the end of the four-year term of the contract. All workers will also get a two-per-cent annual wage increase over the term of the deal.

“This contract provides well-deserved improvements,” stated Marty Warren, USW Ontario director, “recognizing the fact that the employees are, first and foremost, the people who contribute the most to the company’s success.”

The USW and the company both agreed to negotiate a new contract “well in advance” of the January 2021 expiry date for the current contract. The new contract takes effect from February 1 2021 to January 31 2025.

Reversal of the two-tier wage system was one of the main issues during discussions between the two sides. Under the system, the newer hires were on a lower pay scale compared to other workers. The company indicated it will be hiring new workers in the near future.

Other features of the new agreement include benefits like introduction of a prescription drug care with “a significant increase in coverage” for employees and their dependents, and dental plan enhancements.

Montebello Packaging makes aluminum, laminate, and plastic packaging for pharmaceutical, personal care, cosmetics, household industrial, and food products.