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Local 161 Members Accept Final Offer

By Dee Gillies
Manitoba, Canada

On August 19th after long and difficult negotiations, and in response to TEAM-IFPTE Local 161ís firm stance on protecting membersí rights, Bell Canada presented Local 161 with a Final Offer. The Localís Negotiating Committee was very disappointed that Bell refused to continue talks.

Bell came to the table seeking concessions and Local 161 had to fight to successfully retain longstanding and hard-won provisions in the Collective Agreement that the Company wanted to reduce or remove. Bell wanted to reduce the number of Personal Leave Days, remove all double-time overtime and shift differentials, and to transition from the current sick day accumulation model to Bellís Short-Term Disability policy, which in the Unionís view has significant problems.

Local 161 protected jobs of single incumbents in a layoff and achieved significant changes for banking of vacation credits during the transition to Bellís vacation policy.

Members will receive base pay raises of 1.5% retroactive to February 20, 2019, 1.5% effective February 20, 2020 and 1.5% effective February 20, 2021.

The Company would not agree to pay increases in line with other union agreements in Bell, or agree to an increase to the Voluntary Retirement Termination Incentive Package payments while Local 161 maintained existing layoff protections for members.

Information meetings on the Final Offer were held on September 9th, 10th, and 11th. The vote was conducted electronically and 86.4% of the members voted by phone or web enabled device. The membership accepted the Final Offer, and will receive their pay increases and retro pay within a month, per the Collective Agreement.

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