Freedom Mobile's call centre employees in Windsor, Ont., have voted to reject a substandard contract offer from the company.
"These employees make a huge contribution to Freedom Mobile's success and this vote should kick-start renewed talks toward a fair collective agreement," said Ken Neumann, national director of the United Steelworkers (USW), which represents the 185 customer care employees at Freedom Mobile's Windsor call centre.
The call centre employees joined the USW in January and began negotiations for their first collective agreement in March. Last week, Freedom Mobile (formerly WIND Mobile) tabled what it called a "final offer" and the union's bargaining committee agreed to put it to a vote by employees, with a unanimous recommendation by the committee for rejection.
The union's bargaining committee recommended rejection of Freedom's offer on the basis that it: lacked basic seniority rights to recognize employees' service to the company; it sought a divisive, two-tier system in which new employees would be saddled with inferior vacation rights; and it proposed inadequate wage increases, said USW.
"This was not the right way for Freedom Mobile and its parent company, Shaw Communications, to display how much they value their employees," said Lee Riggs, president of the Telecommunications Workers Union, USW National Local 1944, which represents more than 11,000 telecommunications sector workers across Canada.
Employee representatives said they were ready to return to the bargaining table to negotiate.
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