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Horizon Plastics and union settle labor dispute

By: Michael Lauzon

January 28, 2014

COBOURG, ONTARIO (Updated) — Structural foam injection molder Horizon Plastics International Inc. has settled its labor dispute, according to Horizon President Peter Garvey.

Garvey said in a telephone interview that company management and the union started negotiating about 8 a.m. Sunday Jan. 26 and reached a tentative agreement about 3 a.m. Monday Jan. 27. Union members met at 5 p.m. Jan. 27 to vote on the tentative deal and at the meeting they ratified the agreement with management for the Cobourg, Ontario, firm.

“The company and union came up with creative ways of helping us compete,” Garvey explained.

About 70 percent of union members ratified the final contract, according to Paul Hardwick, representative of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175. About 160 workers are covered in the contract.

The 4-year contract places restrictions on temporary agency workers, creates unionized flexible work employees and restricts when those employees can be used, Hardwick said in a Jan. 29 email. Permanent employee wages will rise in lump sums in the first three years and a 1.5 percent increase is slated for the fourth year of the contract.

A roadblock in previous negotiations was job security and the use of temporary workers to allow more flexibility in production. Horizon Plastics opened a plant in Mexico last year but Garvey said Jan. 28 that Horizon Plastics wants to keep operations running in Cobourg, where it is one of the major employers.

Garvey said he expects Horizon Plastics will ramp up to normal levels of production throughout the day of Jan. 28.

“I think we will get up to speed real fast and serve our customers,” Garvey said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

Management had been keeping production going during the lockout that began Jan. 5. A provincial conciliator helped mediate negotiations between Horizon Plastics management and the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 175.

Horizon Plastics is one the largest structural foam molders in North America and has won numerous awards for its work.