Heinz Impact Still Being Felt

Heinz factory in Leamington. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Non-union staff in Leamington are going another year without a pay raise as the municipality works to handle lost tax revenue from Heinz.

Leamington Council approved a wage freeze for 2015 after non-union staff also went without an increase in 2014. Non-union staff include part-time employees, summer students and councillors.

Leamington CAO Peter Neufeld points to $500,000 in lost revenue due to the Heinz closure, which ceased operations in June, as the main reason for the need to tighten up payroll.

“We are starting to feel the impact of [the closure] and staff are still willing to recognize that this is a difficult time and to do their part,” says Neufeld. “This is a difficult recommendation for me to make because I recognize the hard work and the diligence of the staff at the Municipality of Leamington, but we have a difficult situation and we’ve come together as a strong team and we’re going to try and help address this together.”

Neufeld adds labour negiotiations with the municipality’s CUPE members will begin in February. Last year, the municipality reached agreements with its two other unionized employee groups outlining wage freezes for two years.