CS Wind Workers Ratify Deal

(Photo courtesy of Kevin_P via morgueFile)

Unionized workers and CS Wind Canada in Windsor have ratified a new three-year collective agreement.

Over 330 members of Ironworkers Local 721 voted roughly 80% in favour of the contract on Saturday. This marks the first collectively bargained deal between the union and CS Wind Canada.

“The first collective agreement is always the toughest because all your conditions are up for negotiation. You’ve got to get a framework built,” says Union organizer Lash Ray. “There’s no point getting a deal if it’s out of animosity. It’s like a marriage; you’ve got to make this thing work.”

Ray says the contract included a guaranteed 40-hour work week, which workers didn’t have prior to the agreement. He says there is also a number of improvements to employment standards.

“It’s good to have progressive discipline, an agreements procedure and an arbitration clause,” says Ray. “All those things are standard with a collective agreement that we’re glad to see the workers have now.”

CS Wind was notified on June 3, 2015 by the Ontario Labour Relations Board that a number of its employees in Windsor had become members of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers, Local 721. The bargaining process for the new contract began shortly after, and a deal was finally reached on January 31.

CS Wind still maintains some non-unionized staff, such as managerial, human resources and office positions.

Since the launch of its Canadian operations in Windsor in 2011, CS Wind has produced over 1,000 wind towers, primarily for Ontario and export to the USA.

-With files from Ricardo Veneza