SPEA: “Major Gains in Workplace Equity for Professional and Administrative Staff at Candu Energy Inc.”
Arbitrator-awarded first contract delivers on long-awaited equity goals
MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Oct. 12, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — A female majority group of Candu Energy workers represented by the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates (SPEA) has won a major victory in their fight for fairness and equity at Candu Energy, a subsidiary of SNC-Lavalin (now AtkinsRéalis).
After joining SPEA and a multi-year struggle to bargain a fair and equitable collective agreement, an arbitrator has awarded a first contract to the Operations and Administration (OA) employees at Candu Energy.
“We are proud to report that the collective agreement includes the same protection for compensation and guaranteed working conditions that all other SPEA represented members have at Candu Energy,” said Michelle Duncan, Staff Representative at SPEA.
The OA employees, which includes Accountants, Cost Controllers, Planners, and administrative employees working alongside their counterparts which include engineers, technicians and technologists represented by SPEA, who have had their compensation and working conditions protected in collective agreements for decades.
The OA workers’ attempt to secure the same guaranteed entitlements to dental, health and leave benefits as male-dominated units was referenced in a 2022 shareholder proposal calling upon the company to strengthen its equity-related reporting.
In a resounding victory, the OA workers have been awarded most of the terms and conditions they sought at the bargaining table, conditions the employer refused to agree to for years.
The new collective agreement expires along with all other collective agreements at Candu Energy in 2026. AtkinsRéalis, has with few exceptions adopted a fractious approach to labour relations since it first purchased Candu Energy from Atomic Energy of Canada Limited. Two out of the last three rounds of bargaining to date resulted in multi-week strike actions.
The relationship deteriorated further when SNC-Lavalin moved to fire the President of the Union earlier this year, on what the union describes as malicious and unfounded allegations. “We are confident that we will win the President’s job back, but SNC-Lavalin’s war on the union is ongoing. We are preparing for the strong likelihood of a strike in the next round of bargaining,” adds Duncan.
The Society of Professional Engineers and Associates is an independent union representing engineers, scientists, technical and administrative staff, who work for Candu Energy Inc- Nuclear division of SNC-Lavalin (formerly Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) Candu division) in Mississauga, Ontario and abroad (excluding AECL Chalk River Laboratories). Formed in 1974, SPEA is one of the oldest professional unions in Canada.
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