NEWS RELEASE · 24th March 2015
District of Kitimat
Council and I thank the citizens of Kitimat for their continued patience during the current labour dispute. We recognize this strike affects families who are on the picket line and is an inconvenience to the citizens of our beautiful community.
Early in December 2014, the District of Kitimat bargaining committee received the Unionís document containing more than 90 demands. The District of Kitimat has not asked for any concessions. The negotiating committees met numerous times prior to the Union issuing strike notice February 25, 2015 and have met multiple times even since the start of the strike.
I want the citizens of Kitimat to know that I, and my council, am actively involved in the negotiation process. As elected officials we set the bargaining mandate for the District of Kitimat negotiating team comprised of exempt staff. Council is always aware of all the issues on the table and provides feedback throughout the process. Council has reviewed and adjusted its mandate several times as negotiations have progressed.
Progress has been made. Many issues on the Unionís list of demands have been addressed. For example:
The Union says safety is important.
The District of Kitimat agrees. Safety is our top concern. We have agreed to expand the Occupational Health and Safety committee and increase training for its members.
The Union says job security and seniority is important.
The District of Kitimat agrees. We have agreed to update a Letter of Agreement that lists the names of all current, full-time and part-time unionized employees and guarantees they will not be laid off.
The Union says the number of part-time jobs in Leisure Services is concerning.
The District of Kitimat agrees. We have committed to converting 10 part-time leisure service jobs into full-time jobs over the next two years. In addition, we have agreed to language that will allow part-time workers to increase their hours by working in other departments, as long as they possess the necessary qualifications.
Kitimatís unionized workers remain among the highest paid municipal workers in British Columbia.
We value our employees and are happy to pay fair wages while recognizing our accountability to taxpayers.