Co-Operative Wage Study (C.W.S.) Committee

C.W.S. is a yardstick for systematically comparing the worth of one job to every other job. The C.W.S. program is made up of a group of rules and conventions sanctioned by both the Company and the Union. These rules are then used to arrive at an equitable standard hourly rate for every hourly rated bargaining unit job covered by the Collective Agreement.

The system began in the American Steel Mills in the early 1950's and was first introduced in Canada at Algoma Steel in the early 50's. C.W.S. was developed to correct inequities that had developed over the years, but it would not be incorporated into many other mining and industrial plants, including the Sudbury operations until much later.

In 1970, Local 6500 and the International Nickel Company formed a new evaluation committee in Sudbury called the Wage and Inequality Committee. The first Union members to join this Committee were Nick Wasylenki, Chair of the Reduction Section; Vic Baumruk, Mines and Jack Dominique, Refining. Other members who have served on the C.W.S. Committee over the years are: Don McGraw, Tom Taylor, Alex D'Angelo, Kerry Size, Tom Larmondin, Randy Taylor, Mark Ardiel, Alex Patterson and John Fera.

The jobs evaluation manual was called the Inco System Manual. It was weighed heavily in favour of the Company and the Union members found it extremely difficult to work with. Union Committee members were not allowed to visit the workplace, the weighing factors were unfair, Company decisions could not be arbitrated, and little time was allowed for the Union Committee members to carry out their duties.

One example of the Committee's first victories was upgrading the Baleman Matte Casting and Electric Furnace from a Step 5 to a Step 6, an increase of 8.3 cents. Even though the Committee was severely restricted by Company rules, they were still able to gain.

The Union continually promoted C.W.S. to its members and the Company as a fairer and more equitable evaluation system, so in 1974, Local 6500 held its first C.W.S. school to prepare for the eventual inception of C.W.S. at Inco Sudbury.

Local 6500's persistence paid off and in 1975, we were able to get a Letter of Agreement with Inco in regards to the ongoing discussions of implementing C.W.S.

In 1979, we were successful in negotiating Article 27 Co-Operative Wage Study that allowed us to have three employees appointed by the Union. We were finally a full partner in a new and improved evaluation system.

C.W.S. continues to flourish and serve our members to this day and has witnessed a whole new job change in the workplace that allows our members to take on more responsibilities and control of their work sites and environment and as a result, gain higher wages to recognize their accomplishments. In the words of Vic Baumruk, How can you not like a system that allows us to get more money for our members in between contracts.

C.W.S. is a Joint Committee with one Representative from the Company and Union.

In the C.W.S. office, we have copies of all job descriptions. If you feel duties have been added to your job, contact our office to have any questions answered.

Roger Lafontaine

C.W.S. Chair
Phone: (705) 675-3381
Email: rlafontaine©

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