By PPWC Local 8 Shop Steward Scott Keelan
On January 24 and 25, 2023, the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC) hosted the Sugar Summit in Downtown Vancouver on behalf of Local 8 members from the Roger’s Sugar Refinery.
In attendance were the union executives from the Vancouver Refinery, Lantic Montreal Refinery (STT de sucre lantic – CSN) and the Redpath Toronto Refinery (Unifor Local 2003-33). Also in attendance were the PPWC National President Kelly Johnson, 2nd Vice President Geoff Dawe and Local 8 Vice President Ian Macdonald.
It was a huge success. Over the two days, the unions had exchanged collective agreements and focused on previous and future bargaining issues. Also discussed were the Canadian International Trade and Tariffs with regards to imported and exported refined sugar and future expansions at the Redpath and Montreal refineries. Labour lawyer Will Clement made a special appearance to discuss case law and arbitration, and answered questions our members had about contract language.
On the second day of the summit, we took a full tour of the Rogers Sugar Refinery, looking into the packaging and production of how sugar is made.
Overall, it was a great experience to improve our communication and connections with sugar refineries back east. It will serve to strengthen our position as the Roger’s Sugar union members of PPWC Local 8 enter collective bargaining in the upcoming months of 2023.