June 16, 2016
By Steven Wishnia and Neal Tepel
Boucherville, Quebec – Union workers at the Sandoz Canada pharmaceutical factory here voted overwhelmingly June 11 to approve an “agreement in principle” on a six-year contract with the generic-drug company.
The 267 workers, members of Teamsters Local 1999, had been locked out on the morning of June 8, when they returned to work after a 24-hour strike. Local 1999 official Jean-François Pelletier said in a statement that the union had limited the strike to 24 hours to avoid disrupting the supply of drugs, and called the lockout “irresponsible.” The previous contract expired last Dec. 31, and while wages, pensions, and seniority are issues, Local 1999 said June 7 that workers are “mainly unhappy about the many extra duties imposed on them due to increasingly complex and stringent standards issued by Canadian and U.S. regulators.” It added that punishments by Sandoz had created a “climate of fear.” The union, which represents about 30% of the 900 employees at the Boucherville plant, has 20,000 members in Quebec. Read more