NEWS RELEASE · 27th March 2015
District of Kitimat
The Union is concerned about job security. What is the District proposing to address these concerns?
The Union has proposed that a letter of agreement be attached to the collective agreement listing job titles and the specific number of positions that must be maintained. This erodes management rights and limits the ability for the municipality to make workforce decisions in changing economic climates. While we hope for a positive economic future, LNG projects have not made final investment decisions.
The District of Kitimat has agreed to re-sign a letter of agreement attached to the collective agreement which lists every full-time and regular part-time employee currently working with the municipality. This letter provides job security as it states that these employees will not be laid off.
The Union believes that the District of Kitimat has too many part-time jobs, and that women occupy most of these positions.
The District of Kitimat is an equal opportunity employer. Men and women applying for a job are given the same consideration. The Collective Agreement does not differentiate pay between genders. The job pays the rate.
The District of Kitimat Leisure Services department has reviewed its number of part-time employees. As a result, the District has agreed to convert part-time positions in the Leisure Services into 10 full-time jobs over the next two years. This doubles the number of full-time jobs in the department. Itís important to remember jobs in Leisure Services often include students who are seeking part-time or casual employment. As well, it is common for Leisure Service departments in many communities to have a higher percentage of female workers.
Additionally, the District has 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.
What has the District of Kitimat offered in wages and benefits?
District of Kitimat employees remain amongst the best compensated workers in British Columbia. The District has offered a 2.5 percent in wage increases in each of three years from 2015 to 2017. We are not aware of any recent British Columbia municipal contract that meets or exceeds the District offer.
The District has also agreed to increases in most health benefits including vision care, dental care and massage therapy; and to increases in allowances and premiums.
Does Council negotiate the contract?
As elected officials, Council sets the bargaining mandate for a District of Kitimat negotiating team comprised of exempt staff. Council is aware of all the issues on the table and provides feedback throughout the process. Council has reviewed and adjusted the mandate several times as negotiations have progressed.
Council does not participate in direct negotiations but this year, for the first time in Kitimatís history, Council did meet with the Union and listened to their concerns. No managers attended this meeting.
Does the District of Kitimat have a poisonous work environment?
The District of Kitimatís Collective Agreement includes a grievance process. The municipality is committed to following the grievance process and protecting the rights of its employees.
The Union has an open offer to meet with Council up to twice annually. These meetings could provide an opportunity for the Union to dialogue with Council about their issues and concerns. The Union has not exercised this option other than its one meeting during negotiations.
How can this dispute be resolved?
The District of Kitimat would like to resolve this strike as soon as possible with an agreement that is fair to our employees and taxpayers of Kitimat. This labour dispute is a hardship on our employees and an inconvenience to the community. Council has adjusted its mandate several times in an effort to resolve this strike. The District of Kitimat has tabled its offer, reaching its financial threshold while retaining its ability to effectively manage.