REPORTING · 4th June 2015
Due to some confusion in the public regarding some of the Districtís recent media releases we would like to clarify a few things.
When our Union applied for mediation back in April 2015 we were presented with documentation that stipulated strict restrictions by the Labour Relations Board, as follows:
ďPLEASE NOTE: The parties agree to strictly respect the confidentiality of the mediation process. No discussions, communications, proposals, side-bar or caucus conversations or suggestions occurring in the presence of or at the direction of the mediator shall be disclosed in any form or by any method, including social media, to any other party or the public.Ē
It was confirmed that only the bargaining committees were privy to this information. For our Union that meant the six members of our committee and myself. For the District that meant their bargaining committee including Mayor and Council.
At the end of the last round of mediation we presented an offer to settle to the District with the expectation that they would confer with Mayor and Council and respond to us.
We were very shocked when the District didnít confer with Mayor and Council and went on a negative media campaign.
It is very difficult for us to address their negative media campaign while balancing the strict restrictions imposed on the parties by the Labour Board and our desire to conclude this difficult Labour dispute.
We believe that if the District stops removing previously agreed to items from the bargaining table we should be able to resolve the outstanding items.
Having said that, in its negative media campaign the District commented on our harassment policy which is supposed to protect all workers from abuse.
However, even though both parties agree that our harassment policy has its own built in mechanism for dispute resolution the District refuses to give it the protection of the Collective Agreement. That protection is needed so that neither party can make unilateral changes to the policy during the life of the agreement.
In addition the District addressed the so called Union proposal of tying wages to an LNG type or other industrial project.
However, this Union proposal was made at the Districtís request as an alternate proposal to bridging the wage gap with RTA. It is not fifty cents ($0.50) per hour at FID and an additional fifty cents ($0.50) per hour when revenue is received. It is fifty cents ($.50) per hour when the combination of FID and revenue is received.
The District has also commented on the so called Union proposal for a manning clause.
However, this proposal provides a manning clause (District Language) to ensure there are an adequate number of employees to provide the Public with the services they deserve. This Union Proposal was originally a minimum positions list. The District proposed this manning clause as an alternate proposal in April 2015. We were told that you canít have this manning clause and the contracting out language; itís one or the other. We chose the manning clause. Now the District says that we canít have the manning clause and the protection of the individual names that have been in the contract for decades. This makes no sense as it adds no extra cost.
These are just a few examples of the misleading media statements that have been made recently.
Our Union refused binding arbitration because we believe that the best Collective Agreements are bargained at the table. We have applied for and received confirmation that new mediation dates will take place on June 7th and 8th, 2015. Our desire is to conclude this difficult Labour dispute and achieve a fair Collective Agreement for our members and fix this broken workplace.
Please understand that we know how difficult it is to be without services for almost 100 days as it affects us as well and we would love to get back to work and provide you with the services that you all deserve. It hasnít been easy for our members to picket all hours of the day and forego the pay to put food on their tables, but we know with your support that we will be able to create a new workplace that respects its employees.
Unifor Local 2300
Comment by Dave Brown on 4th June 2015
Thanks for the update. I like the info, perspective and tone. Good luck getting it done. Hoping to see everyone back getting the town looking clean, tidy and with happy workers.
What was the tabled offer
Comment by Ricky on 4th June 2015
In the interest of transparency, what was the final offer you tabled?
Thanks for that update
Comment by Molly K on 4th June 2015
I appreciate the update Martin. I have been running around trying to explain to people about those negative misleading statements. The problem with the Harassment Policy is just that - it is a policy and can be changed at anytime unilaterally by the District. They changed it once unilaterally already and hence the need for it to be in the collective agreement. The snow removal policy, etc. has also been changed and that can be done with any District "Policy". The District has been "playing" with those people whom do not go any further to get clarification through those releases. Just like their "external negotiator" - whom was their lawyer. Quit leading the people of Kitimat on as if we are all simple. I suggest you redirect your resources towards meeting with the Union and Mediator. I have lost any little respect I have for the District and their "negotiator" from those deceiving releases and I would like to now have a news release on how much it's costing us as taxpayers for this "negotiator" because her advise is sadly lacking. Good thing she lives in Vancouver and doesn't have to walk around in this unkempt town.