Unifor set to begin bargaining with Saputo Inc.

The approximately 60 new members of Local 4003 – based in Vaughan, Ont. – who joined Unifor in April 2021, are getting ready to bargain their first contract with dairy company, Saputo Inc. in late March.

“We are ready to support our new members as they prepare to go to the table,” said Deb Tveit, Assistant to Unifor’s National President. “The bargaining team represents workers’ values and priorities and will negotiate the best collective agreement for the membership.”

The local met with Saputo virtually on Feb. 16, 2022 to exchange bargaining proposals and has scheduled bargaining to begin during the week of March 21 to 25, 2022 in Toronto.

Bargaining was delayed by the disastrous flooding in British Columbia that triggered supply chain issues, causing the employer to be unavailable to start bargaining earlier.

“Our local has held a number of meetings with this new group and discussed their priorities to help guide us towards negotiating a first agreement,” said Local 4003 President Sina Piluso.

The 60 workers are dependent owner-operators (truck drivers only contracted to Saputo) and registered distribution operators.

The new bargaining unit will cover these workers who transport Saputo dairy products in Ontario within the York, Halton and Ottawa-Carleton regions. They join the other 535 Saputo workers who are already members of Unifor in Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta.

Piluso said the local 4003 invested time, including understanding Saputo’s business model, before completing bargaining proposals and writing up a first collective agreement.

Unifor Local 4003 will continue to keep members in the loop of bargaining updates.