REPORTING · 12th April 2015
District of Kitimat
The District of Kitimat is disappointed that the Union did not accept the Final Offer. That offer was fair, reasonable and balanced. It included many improvements to wages and benefits and addressed many of the Union’s concerns in safety and other areas.
The District will now retain the services of an external negotiator. The Final Offer is off the table to give the external negotiator maximum flexibility to negotiate a collective agreement.
Collective bargaining requires flexibility and compromise. The District has been willing and available to meet whenever the Union demanded it. The District’s Committee worked tirelessly to respond to the Union’s demands in over 20 days of bargaining. The Union made few or no moves.
As recently as April 3, 2015, the District’s Committee returned to bargaining. The District’s Committee offered more concessions. The Union remained rigid in demanding such things as wage parity with RTA. The Union berated and harassed our staff, shouted profanities at them and commanded them to leave. Bargaining then ended. The Union repeated some of the same behaviour at the Council meeting of April 7, 2015.
The Union has spoken at length about wanting a respectful workplace. As with the Union’s rigidity and inflexibility at bargaining, its demand for respect is a one-way street. Since the start of bargaining, the Union has attacked administration in a personal way by ridiculing, demeaning, harassing and bullying people who are your neighbors, friends and simply trying to do their job.
Council cannot continue to expose staff, who also have the right to a safe workplace, to the Union’s bullying and harassment. As the Union refused to accept the Final Offer, which would have employees returning to work tomorrow, Council has retained an external negotiator in order to conclude a collective agreement in a timely manner.
Comment by bill on 17th April 2015
I suggest a general strike, if the government (DofK) thinks it is acceptable to violate workers rights we all need to stand up. This is unacceptable and something one would expect from a foreign corporation, not our municipal government. We pay alot more taxes now and would hope for better service...even if it means hiring more people.
Comment by Cem on 17th April 2015
How can we teach our children not to "bully" when adults are being "bullies" ?
Comment by kitimat born and bred on 15th April 2015
i totally agree with morganhorse. The Mayor and council need to get their heads outta their butts and start caring about this strike and stop playing the blame game and lying about negotiations.
This is not a pissing contest Mr. Mayor
Comment by kitimat first on 15th April 2015
management and council cant expose staff to union harassment, yet the other day I drive by the the arena and whos out sweeping the grass on the lawn abutting the picket line but staff employees ! I guess that grass there needed to be swept urgently, while the mud hole coming out of tim hortons is a less urgent job and less unsightly ! I'd like to hear ron pooles insight on this choice of work for his staff...is he trying to start something or was he just trying to rub it in a little more ! i haven't seen any other grass in town being swept except for that spot ! mr poole could you please explain yourself for this choice of location and why that spot was a priority over more unsightly places around town ?
Comment by K. on 14th April 2015
Yes the actions on the picket line at the Library do speak louder than words - especially from some of the ignorant actions & words directed to our female picketers!!!! This is what we are fighting against - isn't it odd that the same nasty comments are not made when it is our male counterparts who are on the line?????
Union Was Too Nice
Comment by Rory Brown < (real name) on 14th April 2015
First of all, well said Morganhorse. Jon, the union has not lost respect. Infact, they gained alot of respect when the District workers continued to work past the end of their collective agreement while the city was "too busy" to start negotiations. They were working without a contract when the big snow fall hit. Too bad for them. You can bet that next time they won't be so willing to continue to work past the end of their next contract.
I wonder if the city council was so difficult to deal with when they through bags of money at Ron Pool and the rest of the over paid city staff. At $350,000.00+ for Ron Pool and Warren Waycheshen, not to mention Tim Gleig, Wayne Sussbauer, and the rest of the very well city paid staff.
I think I just found where we can make some huge cuts to the city budget.
The Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Comment by Jon on 13th April 2015
The actions of some union members on the picket line trying to intimidate people going into the Library last week speaks volumes about the personnel issues that management is having to deal with.
The Union has lost a lot of support due to this.
So this will be going into month three before the mediator can even meet with the parties.
and the Union bosses continue to draw their pay...
Latest DOK move good
Comment by Carlosroberto on 13th April 2015
I believe the DOK has made the right move. From the on-set the union made it clear that they had no intention of negotiating and chose instead to try to bully Council into agreeing to their demands. From their own newsletter they "hunted" "chased' and "confronted in their homes and businesses" in an attempt to coerce Council. Then we have the mob attempting to bully and intimidate Council at the last Council meeting. All the propaganda about mistreatment of employees is contrived to evoke sympathy and support. IF there were issues they could have been dealt with through the existing Collective Labour Agreement. If working conditions were so bad, why do people want to be casuals for 20 years when there have been other opportunities for employment in the community? As for wage parity with RTA (which I believe is the real objective) remember that you chose to work a 9-5 job rather than shift work. You chose a clean work environment rather than the heat,dust, and fumes of a smelter. Any empathy I had for the union is gone.
Comment by rob on 13th April 2015
Have you ever stood in line for ten minutes at a fast food place, to only have the person in front of you when they are asked “What would you like” ah wait I need a minute and then they look at the menu. This waste of time seems to be the Districts method of contract negotiating. You line up behind them waiting for them to place an order only to find out they have not read the menu or start asking for things that were on the menu awhile back. Well here we go they wait for something that has been removed from the menu “last offer” by the union, and there statement is “The District of Kitimat is disappointed that the Union did not accept the Final Offer” what don’t you get NO means NO.
What the District has to understand that the tipping point is not money it’s about the culture and frame work that makes your employee’s work place digestible. For the long term and future employees that’s what the union is asking, to cease and desist past practices; form workable contractual language to remove theses past practices. The districts past and present practice is to send it to arbitration if there is an issue. No you go for very costly menu choice instead of easy to follow language inside a contract that is the underlining basis for contract language. No they would rather spend huge sums of monies on arbitration, rather than on other things like training.
These practices have been noted in parts of the “last offer” that was “The District has committed to concentrate on filling two Union job vacancies” these issues that have been festering cause of bad management practices for over the past while with grievances filed that ended in a lawyers hands. By refusing to allow transfers from other parts of the district (past practices) and trying to wedge this own (one of the negotiating team from the District) choice of people off the street. I don’t see that language in the contract, your answer is to “concentrate” which is to remove the bad item from the plate but not fix the menu so others don’t have to fight for the correct practices! You recognize the problem but won’t put a lasting solution in place!
This type of restaurant that the District wants to run will never produce quality food and forget the service, the best we can hope for is a “The District’s Committee worked tirelessly to respond to the Union’s demands in over 20 days of bargaining” Worn out management team after twenty days, now the District is bringing in restaurant make over crew from the food channel.
I hope as with most restaurants make overs that are on this show understand that “give the external negotiator maximum flexibility to negotiate a collective agreement” means that you have to listen to them and understand what they say, not the highlighted changes and fix the underlining problems!
Then add a good contractor (mediator) and by the end of the contract make over you might even get your so called negation team to flip burgers without making your patrons sick from food poisoning after they are given a food safe course on labor best practices.
Well here we have it after six weeks, the restaurant owner is seeing that there regulars patrons are even leaving there side for the PR group they hired failed, well at least you still have your day jobs (team District). Enjoy the fruits of your twenty days of hard work, next time “That offer was fair, reasonable and balanced” might cost you your day job; but it’s not over yet!!
Comment by citizen on 13th April 2015
No one deserves to be bullied nor harassed. I was shocked to hear mayor and council told to quit and being yelled at. I almost doubt anyone would wish to run in the next election. I don't envy any of you
I'm happy that you have turned this over to professional negotiating team.
Perhaps this may prove to be the answer
PS. I did not know that the district was a horrible employer and I've been here for many many years
Comment by kitimat first on 13th April 2015
its so sad that members of this community even to this day still don't get it, this strike is not about money. unions don't just go on strike for money issues which Jon seems to be concerned about and thinks happens. and to say the younger members don't understand is a slap in the face not just to them but the union as a whole. all the issues are placed in front of them and they each have a say in it. this is not a dictatorship and no one is forced or made to vote a certain way, you vote the way you want ! Jon you gotta get your head out of the sand and educate yourself about the issues before spouting off on something you know nothing of ! its a no brainer they are not gonna recoup there monetary losses, so maybe just maybe they are striking for something else...educate yourself first.
Comment by morganhorse on 13th April 2015
I can totally see what the striking workers have been talking about.
You, as Mayor, are really going to put out to the public that the only stonewalling or disrespecting behaviour has been done by the union? All blame for this shamble is on them?
You're going to imply that you and Council have been treated unfairly and are now harassed to the point that you are afraid?
Seriously twisted and one-side open letter if you ask me. None of you would have felt harassed if you had listened to and dealt with the serious working problems within the District...but I guess this open letter proves you were just not interested,
The union didn't budge on many issues, due to the fact that they are about the decent treatment of employees and respecting basic human rights...yet all you mention is the wage parity.
Is that meant to enrage the public, or do you just not care about the rest,Mr. Mayor?
That should help
Comment by Not a good move on 12th April 2015
As on outsider observing I seriously question this move and wonder who is giving the advice here the dok reputation has been questioned by the union. And this move to me shows me a lot it seems to me that this was a bullying tactic trying to force the union into a deal that they had previously rejected on top of that they then threaten to take away a previous agreed upon language looks a lot like bad faith bargaining. I seriously doubt that this working relationship is going to improve and as a result the public will suffer from this.
Comment by Jon on 12th April 2015
When speaking with older and retired union members, all have stated clearly that the workers will never recover the monies lost during the strike.
For younger union members they do not understand and follow their union leaders.
The negotiator will have difficulties with the entrenched views of the union leaders (and what is their agenda about? - RTA issues spilling over into the community maybe?).