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Three-week strike ends at Steele Honda

Honda employees picketing outside Mazda on Kenmount Road Friday morning. Teamsters Local Union 855 says work is getting sent from the unionized Honda shop to the non-unionized Mazda shop while Honda workers are on strike. -
Honda employees picketing outside Mazda during the strike which ended Thursday morning. Teamsters Local Union 855 had said work was being sent from the unionized Honda shop to the non-unionized Mazda shop while Honda workers were on strike. -The Telegram file photo

Flat rate off the table, employees get two per cent wage increase

Steele Honda announced Thursday morning their unionized employees voted in favour of the most recent offer, ending the three-week strike at the Kenmount Road dealership.

Teamsters Local Union 855 president Richard Gill said it was a last-minute offer on Wednesday that was voted on Thursday morning with about a 99 per cent acceptance among unionized employees at the dealership, which includes everyone except sales and management staff.

He said the “big sell” for the mechanics was that flat rate came off the table.

“We don’t have it anywhere in the province, and we didn’t want to start with this dealership.”

Another issue during the strike was work being sent to the non-unionized Steele Mazda dealership down the street.

Gill said the work was contracted out because Steele Honda was backed up by three weeks for appointments, but Honda Canada only allows three days.

“What we’ve agreed to is introducing a night shift, and that’d be a rotation of people on days going on nights,” said Gill.

“It won’t be a full night shift, but it will eliminate the contracting out.”

He said the night shift would only be implemented during busy times.

Technicians also got a two per cent increase in pay retroactive to November 2018, and two per cent each year thereafter.

This new agreement is for four years dating from Dec. 1, 2018.

A news release from the company says it’s now back to normal operations and will work to “quickly provide service to those who have been waiting.”

“Steele Honda is motivated by maintaining positive relationships with its employees, while delivering a quality, cost effective service program with reasonable wait times for customers,” reads the news release.

“That is what we have been striving for. We believe the collective agreement now in place is very fair for our employees and it will allow us to provide continued excellent customer service.”

The union did make some concessions in the collective agreement, including decreasing the number of sick days from eight to five days for new employees hired Thursday (the date of ratification) or after.

New technicians will also earn $1.50 an hour less under the new agreement, but if they complete courses they can reach what’s known as ‘platinum status’ and earn the same rate of pay as current technicians.

Gill estimates it would take the new hires two to three years to reach that status.

Twitter: @juanitamercer_

Earlier story:

Steele Honda announced Thursday morning their unionized employees voted in favour of the most recent offer, ending the strike at the Kenmount Road dealership.

“Steele Honda is motivated by maintaining positive relationships with its employees, while delivering a quality, cost effective service program with reasonable wait times for customers,” reads a news release from the company.

“That is what we have been striving for. We believe the collective agreement now in place is very fair for our employees and it will allow us to provide continued excellent customer service.”

The dealership says it’s now back to normal operations and will work to “quickly provide service to those who have been waiting.”

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