The patience of union members at Lufa Farms in Laval finally rewarded!
MONTREAL, Jan. 29, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 501 (UFCW 501), is proud to announce the signing of the first collective agreement for union members at Lufa Farms in Laval. After three years of difficult negotiations, the union members’ patience has finally been rewarded. We salute the unwavering determination of the employees, who have had to overcome numerous obstacles, including their employer’s multiple challenges before the Tribunal administratif du travail, aimed at obstructing their unionization.
At the Annual General Meeting held on January 17, 2024, the members overwhelmingly adopted the terms of their very first collective agreement. The agreement came into effect retroactively on January 1, 2024, for a period of 3 years. Our members of this urban rooftop commercial hydroponic greenhouse are busy growing and distributing fresh, local and responsible fruit and vegetables. This unique and innovative concept guarantees the availability of fresh, local and environmentally-friendly produce. We’re very proud to welcome them to the TUAC family.
Highlights of this first collective agreement include a significant increase in wages, positioning our rates among the highest in the industry. In addition to having obtained increases during negotiations, employees will now have a salary scale that will ensure compensation commensurate with their experience in the company. Greenhouse helpers/harvesters will start at $17 an hour, rising to $24.25, while assistant agronomists will be paid from $24.80 to $30.50 an hour. In addition, each active union member will receive a $250 signing bonus, as well as $250 for each full year of service. This represents a 10% to 21% increase for our members. Salary catch-up based on years of service will also ensure fairer compensation and stability for our members.
Among other advances, the agreement provides for the maintenance and improvement of certain benefits, such as a training bonus of $1.25 per hour worked, a plant-pulling bonus of $20 per day, and a 30% discount on all basket orders. Employees will also benefit from an allowance for the use of their personal vehicle, an employer contribution to the Fonds de solidarité FTQ RRSP, and other advantages in terms of clothing and equipment provided by the employer.
The agreement also includes a provision for a reduced work week, the introduction of a right of refusal clause, and the possibility of a summer schedule starting at 5:30 a.m. during periods of intense heat.
This agreement was reached and accepted by the members at a time when employees at the Lufa greenhouse in Ville Saint-Laurent are also preparing to begin negotiations for their first unionized contract.
“I welcome this major step forward for Lufa workers in Laval. This agreement lays a good foundation for the unionization campaign underway for all Lufa greenhouses and its distribution center. Together, we’re writing the story of progress and justice for greenhouse workers. United, we are shaping a future where dignity at work is non-negotiable,” says UFCW 501 President Alain Lachaîne.
About UFCW 501
With some 19,000 members in more than 410 companies, UFCW 501 is part of the largest francophone food and commercial union in Quebec, and represents members in northern New Brunswick. Our extended organization has over 55,000 members in Quebec, 255,000 in Canada and over 1.4 million in North America. Our members work in all areas of the food industry and commerce, as well as in other fields such as service, processing, manufacturing, technical and professional jobs. For more information on UFCW 501, visit www.tuac501.org.
|Nil Ataogul | Director of Organizing, Education and Communications
UFCW 501 | Cellular: 514-834-3556