Fort McMurray aggregate workers get 5% wage increase

This comes to less than 2% per year on average, which is less than the rate of inflation. As well, pension contributions have changed, with the employer no longer providing more than the worker.

In the August 2023 Bargaining Update released earlier this month, Alberta’s jobs, economy, and northern development ministry indicated that a new collective agreement for some agrregate workers in the Fort McMurray area had been reached.

Settled on 10 August 2023, the new agreement is between TBG Contracting and the Twin Bridges Employees’ Association, which represents nearly 50 of TBG’s workers.

Headquartered in Fort McMurray, Alberta, TBG is a division of Lafarge Canada and provides various aggregate products and services, including sand mixing and concrete recycling.

These workers—which include crusher operators, grader operators, crusher oilers, small equipment operators, labourers, truck drivers, and flag persons—had been working on an old contract that had expired at the end of 2021.

According to the August 2023 Bargaining Update, these workers will receive a total increase of 5% over the 3-year term of their new contract. Here’s how it breaks down per year.

1 January 20220.0%
1 January 20232.5%
1 January 20242.5%

That works out to an average annual increase of 1.67% during the life of the contact.

For example, at the end of the previous contract, labourers were making $25.24 an hour in base pay. By the end of the new contract, these same workers will be making $26.52 an hour.

Here’s a look at the each of the job classifications and how much their base wages will increase each year. Remember, there is a wage freeze in the first year, so those are the same wages as they received in 2021.

1 Jan 20221 Jan 20221 Jan 2024
General foreperson – crusher$52.72$54.04$55.39
General foreperson$48.93$50.15$51.41
Crusher operator I$47.77$48.96$50.19
Loader, cat, grader operator$46.18$47.33$48.52
Crusher oiler I$44.66$45.78$46.92
Crusher oiler II$42.22$43.28$44.36
Crusher oiler Ill, small equip. I$39.79$40.78$41.80
Small equipment II$38.28$39.24$40.22
Labourer I, Small equip Ill$36.75$37.67$38.61
Labourer II$32.77$33.59$34.43
Labourer Ill$29.00$29.73$30.47
Labourer IV$25.24$25.87$26.52
Truck driver$37.37$38.30$39.26
Flag person$25.24$25.87$26.52

With the new contract comes the introduction of a 4th level for travel expenses. Workers who have to travel to worksites 95 kilometers driving distance or more from the Fort McMurray city limits will be entitled to a travel allowance of $68.10 per day shall be paid to employees. The travel allowance for drivers under the same conditions will be $84.60 per day. The other 3 allowance levels remain unchanged.

Worker contributions to the pension plan will see some significant changes, effective for the 2022 work year.

Under the previous contract, here is how contributions for TBG and the worker was laid out, and was based on per hour worked.

1 Jan 2019$0.70$2.60
1 Jan 2020$0.90$2.80
1 Jan 2021$1.10$3.00

However, under the new contract, the pension contributions will be equally shared between the worker and TBG and will be on a percentage basis.

Workers will be able to contribute any percentage of their paycheque toward their pension, and TBG will match it, but only to a maximum of 4%. If the worker chooses 0% contributions, then TBG is off the hook.

The default contribution rate will be 3%, but workers will have the choice to increase or decrease it.

As well, TBG introduced a worker RRSP contribution programme that workers can participate in, but TBG won’t provide matching contributions for any workers who do participate.

The new contract will expire in December 2024, so the negotiating team will have only a short break before starting bargaining on the next contract.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

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