Keywords Studios Bargaining: Concerns Remain

Your Keywords Studios union negotiating committee met face-to-face on June 13th and 14th in Edmonton. Bargaining started slow, but we were able to make some headway on the second day. During these two days, we have reached an agreement on the following union proposals:

  • Term and purpose of the Collective Agreement (UP 1)
  • Fresh start clause, which removes all discipline from your personnel files (UP 2)
  • Legislative minimums – this secures protections for you in your contract that currently fall under the province’s workplace legislation and acts (UP 3)
  • Management rights – this identifies the rights of the employer in the event something is not defined specifically in the Collective Agreement (UP 4)
  • General holiday language covering pay, which also includes the Federal National Truth and Reconciliation Day (UP 12)
  • Union Shop Steward rights and protections, including the right of your Union Shop Steward to be able to assist you on company time, conduct interviews and investigations (UPs 29, 30 & 31)
  • Secured a reasonable probationary period for new employees (UP 47)
  • Personnel files – this language covers what can go in your file, (i.e., discipline, coaching, or evaluations) and how long it can remain (UP 50)
  • Strike and lockout – this ensures there will be no strike or lockout during the term of the Collective Agreement (U55)

The 11 agreed-to union proposals (UPs) listed above are in addition to the other 11 agreed-to items from the past three sessions of bargaining.

Unfortunately, everything was not ideal in this round of contract talks. The employer has taken some troublesome positions regarding discipline and discharge, and the grievance procedure, which are unfair and serve to tip the balance of power in their favour.

The grievance procedure is an important mechanism in your Collective Agreement that allows you to formally dispute workplace issues or events. It is key to solving workplace issues affecting you. The employer wants a clause that would penalize workers for not filing grievances on time, but they will not agree to the same penalty if they do not respond to grievances on time.

Rules around the disciplinary process are key to your job security, and we have some fundamental differences with the employer in terms of what a fair disciplinary process should look like. One major sticking point is that the employer wants some disciplines to remain on your file for far too long. No one should have to live under the shadow of a disciplinary notice for an unreasonable period.

“It is unfortunate that the employer has taken these unreasonable positions on both of these issues when we have offered a more than fair compromise to settle matters,” said Chris O’Halloran, UFCW Local 401 Executive Director. “But they are not interested in compromise on something as important as how discipline in the workplace will affect you and your job security; they want their cake and to eat it too.”

We will be back at the negotiating table on July 4th and 5th. We hope that we can continue to make progress, but if Keyword negotiators continue to hold to these unfair positions, we are prepared to turn up the heat in order to influence a change of direction on the employer’s part. Your job security matters!

Finally, your union embraces open and transparent bargaining, and all members are welcome to attend these sessions. The next set of negotiations will be conducted online, so if any members would like to attend, please let us know, and we will send you the link. All you must do is contact Felix at 1-866-977-0772 ext. 2367 or email him at You can also contact Chris at 587-999-6448, email him at, or contact him on his Facebook page by searching: facebook/chrisohalloranufcw401. We would love to have you!

In solidarity,

Dalton Johnson
James Russwurm
Jason Parrell
Pablo Godoy
Chris O’Halloran