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NEWS RELEASE · 30th May 2015
District of Kitimat
On behalf of my Council I extend thanks to the citizens of Kitimat for their patience during this difficulttime. We recognize residents and businesses are very affected by loss of services.

The District of Kitimat employs only 23 exempt staff (and over 120 Unifor and 18 Kitimat Firefighters Association Local 1304 employees belonging to the International Association of Firefighters ). This total includes three exempt staff with the Fire Department as well as the Office Manager at the RCMP Detachment. Those four are looking after essential services at those locations. They are fully involved in performing essential duties of striking employees as well as their own duties.

We have hired two managers to replace managers who have taken employment elsewhere. Under Labour Code rules, they are limited to their own duties and to essential services. They cannot perform any duties of striking employees.

The remaining 17 managers are doing essential duties (water, sewer, cemetery, etc.) ; doing their best to keep the community clean, mow grass, collect taxes, pay bills and many other duties; while also doing their regular jobs. Again, we thank them for their very hard work and thank you for your patience.

On February 26, 2015, the District of Kitimat tabled a Final Offer. The Union took its members out on strike. Members of the District’s bargaining committee returned to bargaining a number of times, including on

April 3, 2015, when the Union’s bargaining committee shut down discussions with a flurry of inappropriate language. On April 9, 2015, the District again made an offer that the Union rejected.

On April 18, 2015, we began negotiating under the guidance of a mediator. No Collective Agreement was reached, although some progress was made.

On May 11, the parties began a second round of mediation. No Collective Agreement was reached. On May 21, a third round of mediated negotiations ended with the Union tabling its “bedrock” offer implying there was no room for movement.

On May 24th, the District offered binding arbitration – the Union rejected that. The Union has not held a secret ballot vote on any of the District’s offers.

The District made no demands for concessions. All of the demands are by the Union. The District has adjusted its position as the strike has gone on. However, the public can rest assured the District has continued to present solid offers to the Union. We are prepared to work cooperatively to reach a fair Collective Agreement which balances employees’ interests with those of other citizens.

We consider that what has already been tabled is more than fair: a Collective Agreement, in its combination of language, benefits and wages that is superior to most private and public sector settlements. Our employees would be getting significantly more than other public sector employees.

Phil Germuth

Mayor
Fed up
Comment by PG on 8th June 2015
I have a problem with the way the union chooses to vote, I feel its unfair to those members that feel intimidated by it. Many probably feel the same way. When Canadians vote in a new PM, its done by secret ballot, good old democratic procedure, go ahead look it up. Like you Rob, I too feel the need to comment once in awhile and when I start attacking others and getting all personal about it, I too will have to identify myself just as you have done. Nice work, you have earned some of my respect back.
Good Day
Comment by Rob on 6th June 2015
Rob Rowlett
J. Cruijff and P.G looking at your posts you two face the world with the point of Statler & Waldor. If you were not up to the culture from childhood North American, they were from the Muppet Show and heckled the rest of the cast from their balcony seats. Sounds just like you two, but hiding out under pseudonyms. By no means am I calling you authors or hand puppets, but looking back through some heart felt words that one of you has written ”Take a pill, better yet take some vacation and get a realistic perspective” might help with what troubles you!
For a man’s home is his castle, the visceral impact knowing that you are so concerned about my home front; exceeds your normal banter!
J. Cruijff and P.G, one might wonder if you have an unhealthy affection for farm animals; but let us digress.
For how a union administrates you might what to do your homework. For you both seem to engage your key boards without any research into the facts of how negotiations are managed for all unions. So do engage in some old fashion learning and stop the disjointed banter you call constructive criticism!
Veritas numquam perit Truth never perishes
Over Paid
Comment by Rory Brown < full name on 5th June 2015
I understand that while the district employees are on the picket line, management will be doing essential duties. Apparently this means Over Time on Saturdays. I would like this explained to me. I keep hearing about our well paid district employees. What about the over paid management at the district. I saw them out on the mowers on the weekend. How much is this costing the tax payers? Another thing, the lawyer that council apparently hired. Who is paying for her? Oh, stupid me. We are. Dealing with the union contract is part of managements duties, not cutting grass.
Taxes ??
Comment by Frank on 4th June 2015
That's all very nice - the taxpayers of Kitimat forbidden from using the amenities for which we pay !
Now where is the home owner supposed to go to pay property taxes with the district "away from my desk"??

Oh I guess here's the math = 3 months of no service means 1/4 less to pay of the property tax right? Right??

OK, thank you
Grazing
Comment by morganhorse on 4th June 2015
Albatross was mentioned first by PG, and Rob was just responding to it. Not disjointed at all if you know how to follow a conversation.

I think it's valid to point out the high cost of living in this valley in respect of the lack of services currently available. And let's not forget, there are so many big plans in the works to make Kitimat grow. Buildings are going up all around, huge businesses are being courted to come here, and yet our Mayor and Council are refusing what should be - yet sadly are not - essential services from growing also.

Everyone is complaining about the overgrown grass, the ugliness of the town...what will it be like if the future holds big businesses setting up shop here and only skeleton crews and unappreciated employees left to deal with all the upkeep?

When you own a home, you keep up the place. You mow the lawn, fix the fence, clean the place...or else you get overwhelmed with the mess. When you are the Mayor or Council of a town, you need to show the same commitment. If something is broke, fix it.

Don't stand on your driveway yelling, "It wasn't me! I didn't make the mess! I'm not cleaning it up!"
Grass fed nonsense
Comment by J.Cruijff on 4th June 2015
Maybe Rob and Morganhorse can get together and start grazing, working their way down from Haisla Hill.
Looking at his disjointed missive I can only surmise that he is feeling some pressure from the home front(s)?
Take a pill, better yet take some vacation and get a realistic perspective on what is achievable.
Your snide remark about Albatross does not suit you, union people live there as well.
Sheep fed
Comment by PG on 4th June 2015
You might want to take your blinders off Rob, there's more to Albatross than high end homes. This town has a shortage of affordable living space already and while I wouldn't call those apartments on Albatross that back onto Haisla hill cheap rent, they certainly arent high end. Everything is pretty green at the moment but it doesn't take long for conditions to change, thanks for making light of my concerns. Forget the cows Rob, you have a enough sheep in your union to graze on that grass and you know it, so much for a democracy. Sure everyone in the union has the right to vote yes or no but only in plain sight of each other, rather intimidating don't you think? Very much like the dark side you speak of with fire hoses and such.
Grass Fed Beef
Comment by Rob on 3rd June 2015
The price of meat has gone up, maybe we can kill two birds with one stone and get the cattle here and feed them on the long grass. As for a fire I guess you are concerned for non-blue collar workers, for if it was up to you no union works could afford a standard of living to live on Albatross.
As for binding arbitration the union is more than able to decide to go there, but first lets them see if the District really wants to settle this with Mediation; as they were the ones wanting to proceed with mediation! They even got the wizard from behind the curtain to sit face to face with the union, and make them pay dearly for this labour unrest.
As for union pride you must come from the dark side of the world where pride and standing for something is met with fire hoses and such. Your insights to day to day living, like bills and summer is coming; WOW thanks for the heads up! As for tragedy the biggest one is the arm chair committees that know all the worldly knowledge, my hats are off to you. You should contact the mediator and ask for intervenor status, for you believe that you are greatly impacted by this labor dispute!!
More at risk than pride
Comment by PG on 2nd June 2015
Has anyone else noticed how high the grass has been growing around town, especially along Haisla blvd? One careless smoker, a strong wind and there goes Albatross as we know it, so wake up, this isn't some game! This process could have gone into binding arbitration if it weren't for Union pride. Do the members of this Union have a say? Then stand up to your Union and demand action before some tragedy happens in our beautiful town. No matter what happens now, the offer is as good as it gets. The only certainty now is that the bills are going to keep rolling in. Just imagine what a full paycheck would feel like again? Summer is upon us, groceries arent getting any cheaper... I recently saw a three pack of t-bones going for $65 dollars!!
All of the demands are by the Union.
Comment by morganhorse on 1st June 2015
Ummm...that's why they're on strike?

Of course they're the ones making demands...they're striking due to being treated poorly for YEARS. The big question is...why are you spitting out statements meant to paint the union and its members in such a poor light. Are you deflecting from the fact that you STILL refuse to deal with their very valid issues...that your continued stalling has cost the taxpayers of this town FAR more than can ever be justified with the use of lawyers instead of simply dealing fairly with the employees?

Don't give us half truths and slanted opinions...deal with the people who need you to listen..instead of trying to make it look like management and Council have done all the sacrificing.

These are people who cleaned snow without a contract during one of the biggest blizzards this valley has known. These are people with integrity,
who have been months without a paycheck.

If they're not budging, I have to believe it's because they are not being dealt with fairly to this day. People don't stay on strike for fun.

And the management that keeps regurgitating the same offers over and over are the ones who brought this on in the first place.



Three Sides To Every Story
Comment by ThreeD on 1st June 2015
If the monetary package offered is as attractive and fair as outlined by the mayor, then what is the pea under the union mattress? Can someone please spell it out? I suggest elected officials and union sit down at a televised table, or at least allow the press to be present, and let us hear the truth before our priceless summer dissapears (hint).
Moonlighting
Comment by Doug Read on 1st June 2015
OK time to a little honesty and facts.

1) Anyone with the slightest knowledge of activity in town will know the members of 2300 are finding (secret) employment elsewhere. FACT.

2) Union claims to be 'united' are bull****. FACT.

3) Means those manning the picket lines have 'scabs' among them. How does that make them feel?

4) Union members earning money in other directions means the strike can continue longer.

5) Is this Moonlighting understandable? Of course, people need to support there families. Alternative opportunities provide the flexibility the Union so rejects.

6) So for those who have donated, supported and continue to believe that 2300 represent something noble. I've sorry, the reality is that they are not. Have an increasing number of rats on board.

7) Curious how there is no coverage of this all too transparent fact. Is this because it doesn't fit the 'common man united' script?

Truth hurts.
overmanaged?
Comment by J.Cruijff on 30th May 2015
19 managers and 138 employees? What kind of a ratio is that?
Please explain what it is these managers do when they show up for work and how much money do they make?
Maybe it explain my taxes that keep me in the poor house.
Did any retiree get the increase Unifor got "shoved" down their throat? I doubt it.
This set of negotiations was amateurish on both sides and the taxpayer was forgotten.
Shame on both of them.