The strike that halted work at a glass factory in Pointe-Saint-Charles since May 11 has ended.
The factory workers, represented by the United Steelworkers union (USW), have reached a new collective agreement with their employer, Owens-Illinois, a glass manufacturing company headquartered in the U.S.
Owens-Illinois spokesperson Jim Woods said work would resume at the plant this week.
“We are pleased to reach a mutually agreeable resolution that continues to provide our employees with competitive wages and benefits, while also positioning our plant for future growth and success,” Woods said in a statement.
USW released a statement on Monday celebrating the agreement, which gives workers at least a 14 per cent pay increase over three years, up to 20 per cent for those who work specialized jobs, and increased pension support and benefits.
“In Pointe-Saint-Charles, we fought for better, we got better, and we’re ready to fight again for better,” said Éric Dumas, the president of USW local 206G.
The workers ratified the agreement on Sunday, with 64 per cent of them voting to accept the offer and end the strike. The workers had maintained that they needed higher pay to counter inflation.
The average salary at the factory is around $28 per hour, according to the union.
The Owens-Illinois plant, more than a century old, is the last major factory in Pointe-Saint-Charles and one of the last of its kind in Canada.
A poster with a slogan that, translated, says ‘we recycle glass, but without a good salary, it might as well be thrown in the sea,’ hangs in front of the O-I glass factory in Pointe-Saint-Charles, Que. in June 2023. The strike ended on July 2. (Matthew Lapierre/CBC)
The factory is a massive structure composed of concrete, steel and smokestacks. Inside, amid the heat of the glass foundry, workers produce brown beer bottles and other glass containers.
Owens-Illinois recently invested $70 million in the plant, aided by $21 million from the Quebec government, to purchase new equipment for the factory. The investment came in the wake of changes to Quebec’s glass recycling regulations, which help the plant produce glass at a lower cost.
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