Earlier this month, close to 250 workers at Ecco Heating in Calgary voted 96% in favour of ratifying their first collective agreement. The company manufactures sheet metal for heating and HVAC systems.

“Ecco Heating is on its way to becoming a great place to work again. It just goes to show how quickly a bad boss can ruin your work life, and how the Teamsters can help make things right for everyone involved, ” said Bernie Haggerty, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local Union 362, the union representing workers at Ecco Heating.

Staff at the company voted overwhelmingly to join the Teamsters last year. A new manager had created unsafe working conditions at the plant, instituted a wage freeze, and was arbitrarily laying off workers who had spent years with Ecco and replacing them with completely new hires.

“Workers at Ecco Heating felt disrespected and were being treated like cheap, disposable labour,” explained at the time Lukas Eichel-Fominov, a business agent with Teamsters Local Union 362.

That manager was ultimately fired shortly after workers joined the union. To read the full story, click here.

The new collective agreement at Ecco Heating is a three-year deal that does away with any possibility of a new wage freeze, guaranteeing a raise in each year of the agreement. Workers also received an increase in the allowance for safety boots and an increase to their health and welfare benefits.

To further address past issues at the company, the new contract sets out seniority rules and recall rights. That prevents management from randomly replacing staff with people hired off the street. Should layoffs become necessary, the “last in, first out” principle would apply, and staff would have an option to get their jobs back once business improves.

The new agreement also sets out a grievance procedure, which protects workers from being fired without just cause. All workers now enjoy union representation and protection from unjust treatment. Finally, a sunset clause on discipline would ensure that any mistakes previously committed by workers would be forgotten and not follow them for their entire careers.

Teamsters would like to thank the bargaining committee and all the Teamster members at Ecco Heating for their passion, patience, and determination to make their workplace better.

Teamsters represent close to 125,000 workers across Canada. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with which Teamsters Canada is affiliated, has 1.4 million members in North America. Visit teamsters.ca for more information. Follow us on Twitter @TeamstersCanada and “like” us on Facebook at facebook.com/TeamstersCanada.

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