After three years of trying, unionized employees at four Tim Hortons outlets in the community of Sept-Îles, Que., are set to obtain their first collective agreement.
"A long saga is ending and we're looking forward to a new relationship between employees and the employer that will be based on respect, equity and appropriate treatment," said Gilles Ayotte, United Steelworkers (USW) representative.
An arbitrator appointed by the Quebec government will hold a final round of hearings next week with management and workers' representatives. The arbitrator will then impose a first collective agreement, within 90 days, said the union.
Ayotte praised the determination and perseverance of the 80 Tim Hortons employees, most of whom are women. They joined the union in Feb. 2015, becoming members of Steelworkers Local 7065.
Quebec labour law dictates that a collective agreement must be negotiated within one year of workers being granted a union certification. The USW protested that the employer used a variety of tactics to prolong the bargaining process. Following an unsuccessful attempt at conciliation, the parties ended up in binding arbitration, said the union.
As a gesture of appreciation for community support, the Steelworkers and its members are inviting Sept-Îles residents to join them for next week's final arbitration hearings. The hearings will be held April 9 to 11, said the union.
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