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REPORTING · 9th April 2015
District of Kitimat
Negotiations with the Union have not resulted in the finalization of a Collective Agreement. Both sides recognize we have reached an impasse. It is evident another course of action must be undertaken.

The District of Kitimat has forwarded options to the Union. We have asked the Union to reconsider the Final Offer presented to them February 26, 2015. We believe it is a solid offer that will bring employees back to work.

If the Final Offer is not accepted by the Union by Sunday, April 12, 2015 at 4 p.m. the offer will be withdrawn. The District will then retain the services of an external negotiator who will have the mandate to conclude a Collective Agreement. That negotiator can make decisions on the best way to achieve this goal, including mediation or arbitration.

Sincerely,

Phil Germuth
Mayor
Bad Faith
Comment by Annoyed on 11th April 2015
In response to "J", who must be District management in disguise. The latest stunt pulled by the mayor and team is the exact reason why this strike is dragging on! This tactic is exactly why the workers are fed up and walking the line! Blame it on the union all you want but who wouldn't be frustrated dealing with a group who from the onset had no interest in negotiating in good faith. The fact that district management did not even want to start the process until AFTER the contract expired shows that right from the beginning they did not take this seriously. Then the "negotiation team" shows up ill prepared to partake in serious discussions on many occasions also shows a serious lack of respect for their employees, let alone the union team. Now they say they're concerned for them and their families, GIVE ME A BREAK. This is nothing more than a classic attempt to divide the union executive and their members. As far as the employees being gullible, how disrespectful. Who do you think filled out questionnaires listing their issues for the bargaining team to address. The spokesmen is only that, a spokesmen who is working on behalf of the members. Lastly if you read the"mayor's message"you would see that pulling the offer is only going to lead to more negotiating either with a mediator or a "hired gun"which at this point might be a better option given the fact that the District negotiating team obviously does not know how to negotiate a contract in good faith. The only way that they seem to want to settle this is their old tried and true method of bullying the other side into a forced agreement. To this I say shame on all of them for putting this city through a needless strike. In negotiations not everyone is going to get what they want but it takes dialogue not just a simple "no". Obviously there are too many of the old guard still around (you know who you are) influencing others who may actually want to make a change and until they are removed from the picture this relationship is in trouble. Oh and to clarify I'm not part of this union side but am a citizen who is aware of what's going on and as the title says, I'm annoyed!
priorities
Comment by frustrated citizen on 10th April 2015
Have people seen the videos of dok employees?Mr. Martin McIlwraith may have gotten upset however people have mortgages,children and families they are currently unable to support with a management team that seems more concerned with avoiding the issue! with a manager that makes 200,000 a year why is the public so concerned with Martin McIlwraths wage? I'm certain he's putting in a lot of unpaid hours as many business agents do! Is he the only one that cares about our community?
"I'm alright Jack"
Comment by K. on 10th April 2015
To all the Union members, past & present who live in Kitimat - please remember who fought for your wages, to those who bitch about incidentals, and cross picket lines, and still enjoy Union wages - might want to stand up and be counted!!! To those who are not Union - Unions are always working on your behalf to raise the minimum wage.
The tale of two cities
Comment by rob on 10th April 2015
When it comes down to basic understanding between groups the written word is a true and tested way. For the key, well written material contains research, points of reference, common used phrases that to most come away with a vision of the author’s intentions and message.
Now a contract is written by its very nature involves research, points of reference, and common used phrase, and labor language. This collection of writings always changing to keep up with shifts in culture and society’s architecture for its very purpose is defining the structures and culture of our work place.
So as one group has said “only went over the highlighted changes” how can mayor and council say they understand and back the Districts Negotiating team, when they have not even taken the time to read and understand the contract?
So again with the position of Mayor and Council that this is a fair offer; do yourselves a favor understand what your endorsing, not just the high lights. You have given a mandate, have you even bothered to check if that’s in there, or are you counting on the highlights.
Mayor reading that canned Statement at the end of the meeting, the misdirected response that you read, shows your complete lack of emotional control. Mayor you could not form a reasonable response to the presentation, so you read a prepared statement. This truly expressed your complete lack of understanding of the core issues that were expressed in the presentation. Let me congratulate you on your lack of control by throwing out the last point “you will never get RTA wages”, not your best show leadership.
If you bothered to read what the union position is not for the same wage as RTA as you stated in you emotional reply; they are asking for parody, which is the matching of the rate increases for the wage not the wage. Was it not Mayor and Council that tied the wages of these managers at the district to the managers at RTA not so many years ago!! Matching them, may I say that is a powerful precedent? For management sets and represents the cultural norms inside the District?
This contract sets the culture of the cities work force. That work force represents the community as a whole, and Mayor and Council are leaders of Kitimat by election. Your complete lack of understanding of the authors intentions shows your understanding of this community’s image to the world.
Mayor you gave them a mandate that reminds me sending an eight year old to the store for milk. They spent the monies and came home with a bag of beans, if you are relaying on magic; it is not included in the highlighted changes. You have to read the book!
Past behaviour
Comment by morganhorse on 10th April 2015
To all those hung up on the fact that disputes are being "addressed" only now while the workers are on strike, I would like to ask, what is that really getting us? The members of Council repeating their terms were well aware of the working situations long before the contract expired...they were not shocked by any of this.

If the union has failed in the past, if the Council has failed in the past, then so be it. We are talking about the here and now. Can we really say that this is moving forward when administration is unwilling to bargain and unwilling to move their stance on fundamental human rights issues that have come up at this set of bargaining?

Bringing in mediation will not work if there are clear lines in the sand and administration is unwilling to bend. This is not about RTA wages...this is about contracting out jobs, undervaluing our workforce, safety, eroding of services....so many other things.

All involved need to listen to each other. Ultimatums are never a good thing. They demand the bending of one will to another parties command and that is never a win-win result.

And, for the record, I do not think Phil deserves a break because he is new. He fought, campaigned for the job. He needs to perform it with integrity and certainly needs to read through documents he is handed that impact the lives of the people in question and the town as a whole. The fact that he refused to read through the offer to settle, simply because it was too long, is inexcusable.

Forget about all but this...a place of business, run and directed by our town, is crying out that they need our help and support. Yes, they make more than me already...I've never had a great paying job and I'm okay with that. But I know this...the situations that I have heard the strikers upset about, directly from their own mouths, have been about unfair practices and a sense of fear and mistrust in their workplace...nobody has mentioned wage to me personally.

Has anyone given thought to who will be paying for all this stalling? Not the union. We as taxpayers will be footing the bill for lawyers and arbitrators, and it already looks like it will get us nowhere.
Many have never worked elsewhere...
Comment by Jon on 10th April 2015
Many of the staff have been raised in Kitimat or surrounding areas and have no understanding of what it is like to work part time at two or three jobs with different expectations in each just to earn a decent wage.
You are living and working in a cocoon and think you are hard done by.
In your case personnel issues should be handled by HR and the Union rep at the time, not stored up for a strike situation.
All the rhetoric and chest thumping gets no pay at the end of the week and you will never make the money back.
Start thinking and utilizing your analytical skills to suss out what is most important.
what next
Comment by amazed on 10th April 2015
Can we expect the union leader to yell scream and insult the negotiator. May I suggest you replace him with a level headed and rational professional. It would be in your best interest. What a disgrace.
A fair offer?
Comment by morganhorse on 9th April 2015
I believe the striking workers have made it abundantly clear that they do not consider your "final offer" fair. They are, after all, still on strike.

And how is saying "Accept this, or we'll bring in a third party and start over from scratch," in any way respecting the negotiating process? This is more stalling, and more expense to tax payers that are already paying for lawyers for administration that don't want to bargain fairly.

Your line in the sand is at MY expense, at the towns expense, and most assuredly at the expense of the workers who have felt so unheard they have walked off the job.

This ultimatum is a slap in the face. If you had stated that you would attend negotiations, that would be different. But you are not offering anything new here...just throwing salt on a wound.

finaly
Comment by Jim on 9th April 2015
Finally something to move this stalemate forward
According to the city district workers are all ready
The second highest paid in the province and we're offered a fair package wages 2 1/2% in each of a three year contract better than what others were offered in these times. I agree serious injustices have been done to our workers but where has the union leadership been all these years to correct these what have you been paying dues for let's move forward settle this and make your union leadership accountable to address your concerns in the future. That radical Mr Mcllwrath is steering you down the wrong path he's comfortable getting his full paycheck and if the city's final offer is pulled off the table on Sunday and left to a arbitrate you could be settling for a lot less than what's been offered now. With all the
latest antics and union threats I think public support is shifting to the city. Like Phil said if you want RTA wages and benifits go woRk there.
Good work
Comment by Citizen of Kitimat on 9th April 2015
Keep up the good work Phil from what I've been reading and seeing I can tell it must be hard to stand up against people such as Mr. McIllwrath
This is gonna get real bad
Comment by Ralph Bartel on 9th April 2015
Oh, Oh.
The gift of TIME
Comment by rob on 9th April 2015
May I suggest a Forty day cooling off period, to put constructive use of the time needed to restart the negotiations?
Which will allow both parties to get well versed on the talking points?
This cooling will allow for a more controlled dialogue between the parties, set agendas; and allow the third party time to digest the issues to understand the whole.