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COMMENTARY · 2nd May 2015
Walter McFarlane
After watching both sides of the labour dispute bicker in public and in the media for the last three weeks, I have to ask the question, has this strike gone too far? Here is why residents of Kitimat, and myself are slowly losing their patience with both sides.

If you plan on tuning into the Council Meeting for Monday May 4th and have not looked at the Council Package, be warned, you’re in for another gong show.

There have been a lot of fingers pointed lately, a lot of contradictory statements in the media as one side of the dispute blames the other for not being at the table. It takes two to tangle and both sides of this dispute need to accept equal responsibility for lack of services which Kitimat has been experiencing.

On the one hand, maybe the community is saving money during this dispute. On the other, seniors and young people want to use the recreation facilities. There are picket lines at the Library and at the Museum.

People might be angry about the lines at the library and museum. However, they were not the first of these. The Youth Centre has been behind picket lines since day one. Given the venues for the strike, the strike has affected young people the most.

So far, we’ve lost a Big Hockey Tournament, our Spring Craft Fair, the Figure Skating Year End Gala and possibly, any number of events. If you check the agenda, the final presentation concerns the Bull-O-Rama, a fundraising event, scheduled for June which was planned to raise funds for the Kitimat Hospital. Here’s a funny question: What happens to Canada Day if the strike is still going on.

Word on the street has it, the reason the Cultural Warming Basketball Tournament was so poorly advertised this year was because someone was afraid of picketers showing up during it. According to one source, the tournament would have lost one of its venues if it was picketed.

Who is looking out for the people of Kitimat in this strike? Press releases from either side of the dispute seem to focus on how the other side is not at the negotiating table. Information from the union paints the District as inflexible while the District releases claim the union is asking for too much.

Watching both sides blaming each other in the Council Chambers is not getting this situation closer to resolution. One should be concerned that poorly worded statements by our elected officials could prolong this labour dispute as tempers flare.

On the other hand, there was also a speech delivered by the union relating to the strike at a ceremony to mourn for human beings who lost their lives because of their working environment. This was most likely the wrong place and the wrong time for that statement.

Now, this situation has devolved to a level of sending out correspondence between the different parties and their lawyers as press releases. It looks like mediation has failed and the PR blitzkrieg is rolling out once again to fight to win over the hearts and minds of Kitimatians...

If both sides are willing to negotiate, then Negotiate and get this thing over with. If both sides put the same effort into negotiating as they have done with PR, this strike would probably be done weeks ago. Is it time to just lock both parties in a room and not let them out until they come to an agreement?
CAO resignation
Comment by kitimat first on 6th May 2015
$206,000 annually and an assistant at $150,000 and the CAO has to contract out some of his work ! are you kidding me ? how is this even possible ?
how is it that ron poole ran Terrace of double the population and no assistant for a $160,000 ?
he figured he'd come to Kitimat for the last few years to pump up his pension and annual earnings and do less (assistant) which Terrace wasn't prepared to pay, but we as fools did !
what exactly does ron poole do in Kitimat to deserve a $46,000 raise to run a smaller community than the one he came from ?
Contracting out
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-Soos on 5th May 2015
If the part of CEO's job is contracted out, will his salary be reduced accordingly?
Contracting out?
Comment by Vern on 3rd May 2015
I am confused on why a portion of the work of the CEO and his Deputy would need to be contracted out, are they that overwhelmed in their jobs. If so are there any staff members who could pick up this work or maybe train up a few union people to help which could turn a few part time jobs to full time.

I agree that the strike has gone on far too long and from what little I know I still can not take a side because the people of Kitimat have been left in the dark on the issues.
In Response
Comment by Walter McFarlane on 3rd May 2015
No, I referred to tomorrow's Council Meeting and the PR Campaign by both the District and the Union as a gong show, while pointing out that Kitimat is losing out on certain events while the two sides argue about who's not willing to negotiate.
Gong show is this article
Comment by Solidarity on 2nd May 2015
People on strike, some single parents for 10 weeks and you call it a gong show. You think they are out there for fun!!
Contracting Out
Comment by HB on 2nd May 2015
The reality in all of this Taxpayers, is that the District is now "Contracting Out"a portion of the CEO's job, as well as his Deputy! A first for Kitimat!!!
Re Morganhorse
Comment by Ted Bergen on 2nd May 2015
I do NOT believe that the purpose of the "day of mourning is (as you have stated) "they were mourning Union employees". I think it was for ALL employees, union or not. If this is not the case, someone please correct me.
As for bringing up the strike issue at this Memorial, I believe it was very distasteful and down played the importance of the gathering.
Memorial
Comment by morganhorse on 2nd May 2015
I didn't attend the day of mourning, but I think it would be an appropriate event to mention a strike as they were mourning Union employees who died or were injured, perhaps due to unsafe working conditions or other factors. To not mention that they are still fighting, still remembering would be odd to me.

If a loved one of mine was killed or injured in a workplace accident, I would want to know that people were still trying to make things better so such an accident would not reoccur.

Just my opinion.
is it over yet
Comment by j.s. on 2nd May 2015
hope fully this will be resolved soon with a positive outcome for all involved we as reidents of kitimat do not no all the history of the situation that has gone on at the district over the years , for us its not about taking one side or the other or else your the enemy we want what s best for our town,and alll the people that live here.comparing to the rest of b.c. we will be expecting the most bang for our buck.
"negotiations"
Comment by H.Sanou on 2nd May 2015
It looks like there will be no agreement from both sides and the obvious solution is BINDING ARBITRATION.
Whether they like it or not that's all there is left folks and any whining or other comments will not make one iota of difference.
So get to it and get it over with.