From GSU’s perspective, the commissioning of the loop track systems and other technological changes at Viterra’s terminal elevators have significantly changed the level and kind of responsibilities required of the staff, particularly those in Facility Assistant positions.
As requested by a number of Local 1 (Viterra) members, GSU general secretary Hugh Wagner has approached Viterra management about examining and boosting the pay of employees to levels that better reflect their contribution to the company’s success.
Gull Lake, for example, was recently recognized by CP Rail as Canadian Elevator of the year and the employees’ efforts were saluted by Viterra CEO Kyle Jeworski.
“While the acknowledgement is appreciated, the employees are asking why it isn’t accompanied by a boost in pay since the wage rates for too many hover just above the $20 per hour mark,“ Wagner said. “In addition, employers could be facing recruitment and retention issues as other employers such as G3 expand their market presence and begin to poach experienced workers with offers of better pay.”
“In the name of fairness and equity, it’s time for employers to take concrete steps to address income disparities,” said Wagner. “Workers should be able to achieve a good standard of living on their regular salary without having to rely on overtime pay to make ends meet.”
Even though a collective agreement with an employer is settled, there is nothing stopping your union from raising wage issues as part of its advocacy for fairness in the workplace.
“Certainly the employer can tell us to make our case when the collective agreement opens up. And, we know that success doesn’t come easily or quickly, but we also know that it doesn’t happen at all unless we press case for better wages – even when the contract is closed,” Wagner said.
If you have a workplace issue, including the salary levels, contact your GSU staff rep.