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NEWS RELEASE · 25th May 2015
Mayor Phil Germuth
Letter from the Mayor: What are the issues between the District and the Union?

After nine (9) days of mediation, I’m disappointed to report the parties were unsuccessful in concluding a new Collective Agreement. We want fair wages, benefits and working conditions for all employees. I’m satisfied the District has offered fair terms and conditions. The District has not sought any concessions.

So what is this dispute about?

Wages? No. Our employees have almost the highest wages in the province including higher than Terrace, Prince Rupert, Prince George and Vancouver. With the proposed 2.5% increase in each of three years, our employees’ wages will continue to exceed other municipalities that have settled for 2.0% or less.

Is it about Health and Safety? No. The District tabled extensive language and agreed to hire a new person to review all of our safety policies and practices.

Is it about harassment and working conditions? No. The District already has a harassment policy developed jointly by Unifor, the Firefighters Union and exempt staff.

Is it about security of employment? No. Regular full-time and part-time employees cannot be laid off.

What is at issue?

Your Mayor and Council are elected to represent all the citizens of this community. This dispute is ultimately about who is going to run the District of Kitimat. Despite the best efforts of this Council and our staff, the Union triggered a long strike, animosity, and continuing hardship for our employees and citizens.

The Union continues to demand:

- Wage increases higher than 2.5% per year;

- Large signing bonuses;

- In addition to protecting all regular employees from lay off, the union wants the District to commit to maintaining a specified number of employees – this is a manning clause which removes all flexibility;

- Further wage increases based on announcement of new industry regardless of whether the District receives any revenues.

The total increase would be at least 3.7% for all job classifications. We have moved as far as we can without damaging permanently any ability to manage and represent all citizens.

We are disappointed that the Union bargaining committee did not give the membership an opportunity for a secret ballot vote on the offers tabled February 26, 2015 and April 09, 2015.

Given the District’s concern about the length of this strike, the District has proposed to the Union that this dispute be sent to Binding Arbitration.
Retiree's living in Kitimat
Comment by Cem on 1st June 2015
I woulld like to know the percentage of retiree's living in Kitimat comapred to the rest of the population making a paycheck with 2 1/2% wage increase, plus other benefits. I don't see my pension increasing 2 1/2% over 2 years but taxes, cost of health insurance, gas, groceries, etc have increased. So if the percentage of retiree's living in Kitimat is higher than the working population, are we going to be able to stay in Kitimat if our taxes keep going up due to union demands ? Good job the District of Kitimat doesn't own the golf coarse too, what a mess it would be !
Union demands
Comment by Vern on 27th May 2015
Ok I get the issue of part time workers but when they entered the workforce they must of known the nature of the work they where getting into. Harassment while not nice is not fixed overnight and if it got this bad the union must take part of the blame as they are there to protect the worker. Now to me the Union demands are getting way out of hand and like many in this town I am getting fed up with the whole mess.
Outrageous union demands
Comment by Voter on 26th May 2015
What happened to the union's 70 or so "reasonable" demands that they were so willing to disclose and yet for some reason (shame?) haven't done yet?
Public sector workers should earn not less nor more than a comparable private sector job.
a signing bonus?
Comment by dizzy on 26th May 2015
give me a break. you should be happy with your $30 an hour, full benefits and pension. if you don't like that leave. 000's of people would jump at your job.
and more if lng projects confirmed?
Comment by concerned on 26th May 2015
is it really the case that the union wants to have even more money if lng signs and then even more money after lng starts after even more money to begin with ( 2.5%.) this doesn't sound rational. in fact, downright greedy and rude actually.

beware, the grass may be tall, but the bumblebees are aplenty.
strike out
Comment by j.s. on 26th May 2015
why don,t they just give them every thing they are asking for..
Just Past The Surface
Comment by Rob on 26th May 2015
Mayor,
When you speak of flexibility, which is the ability to contract out jobs? As the Mayor you are quite aware of the attrition that is just ahead for the bargaining unit that works for District of Kitimat.
The attrition that is just ahead from the point of retirements of long serving employees, versus the numbers of the conversion from part-time to full time inside the offer will not cover the retirements. So that’s a big win with the position of “In addition to protecting all regular employees from lay off, the union wants the District to commit to maintaining a specified number of employees – this is a manning clause which removes all flexibility;” providing names leaves this flexibility & leads to the barging unit erosion.
This erosion will give a “flexibility” to contract-out with all the impacts that come with that, or better yet more part timers working for years at the district. That this very negotiations right now are dealing with the chronic failure due to the abuse of part time positions.
Mayor why don’t you say when the opportunity presents its self you will contract out as much as you can. You see the corporations do it, so it must be great for the system. Well people need to ask as we race for the bottom how much is enough! As employers pull for cheaper and cheaper services and widgets, we erode the very foundations that made this area great, steady full time dependable job. Jobs that build communities with decent paying full time jobs so people can buy houses and develop the community.
Just look at the fine print inside the offer.
arbitration is the only way out
Comment by bill on 26th May 2015
The time has come, get on with it. Let someone unbiased decide.
Ridiculous
Comment by Cem on 26th May 2015
The workers should have the deciding decision and be allowed to vote. Instead of having the bull-headed union boss have the last say. They should be very thankful to have a job right now the way things are slowing down in Kitimat. If it wasn't for Rio Tinto Modernization this town would be in a sad state of affairs. Just remember unifor we have some of the lowest taxes in Kitimat compared to some other cities in B.C. and no need to be so greedy. Get back to work...the town is looking worse everyday. The people of Kitimat are fed up with your demands !