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NEWS RELEASE · 28th August 2015
Unifor 2301
On July 24th, 2015, the Unifor Local Union Executive Board passed a motion to not invite Kitimat’s Mayor and Council to this year’s Labour Day Picnic, as has been traditionally done. At the August 26th Executive Board meeting this decision, following substantial debate, was unanimously reaffirmed.

The Unifor Local 2301 Executive Board is well aware that this decision has stirred a lot of controversy within our community. This Press Release intends to provide some clarification as to why this action was taken.

The Local 2301 Executive took this action in consideration of the sentiments in our community, particularly amongst the labour movement, following the recent labour dispute between the District of Kitimat (DOK) and Unifor Local 2300, which represents DOK unionized workers. We stand in solidarity with our Brothers and Sisters of Unifor Local 2300.

As mentioned, the DOK workers of Local 2300 have just concluded, this past June, a 102-day strike in order to reach a fair collective agreement. DOK’s bargaining committee receives its mandate to reach a collective agreement from Mayor and Council. Thus, the Union contends that what was deemed acceptable to the employer (DOK) after a long, bitter strike should very well have been seen as reasonable proposals without incurring unnecessary suffering upon unionized workers and their families or unnecessary service disruptions to the community.

In light of this, and the fact that emotions are still running high within the community and the justifiable residual enmity amongst unionized DOK workers towards local elected officials following the end of a long labour dispute, Unifor 2301 Executive felt it was prudent to allow for a “cooling off period” in order to avoid, in the interests of all parties, any potential spontaneous flare-ups at a family function. Unifor 2301’s paramount desire is to conduct a successful, fun, family event, celebrating the positive influence of organized labour on all aspects of our society.

Unifor (Union-forward; Union-for-everyone) was founded on the principles of Social Unionism. As such, we are committed to fostering progressive relationships and partnerships with all stakeholders in our community to build a better, stronger, more inclusive society. These community stakeholders include municipal governments, social advocacy groups (health, education, housing, women’s and other equity-seeking groups), First Nations, local business and all members of our communities regardless of whether they belong to a union.

As controversial and unpopular as the action taken by the Unifor 2301 Local Executive Board may reputedly be, this decision does have the unanimous support of the Local 2300 (DOK) Executive Board and moreover was made with the objective of holding a family-oriented event without distraction or disruption.

To this end, we encourage the public’s support of both Unifor Local 2301’s Executive Board decision and the Labour Day Picnic itself, which will be held, as scheduled, on Monday, September 7th, from 11am to 4pm, at the Kitimat Rod & Gun Club.

In Solidarity with Kitimat,

Sean O’Driscoll,

President, Unifor Local 2301, On behalf of the Local 2301 Executive.
unifor exec bbq
Comment by citizen on 2nd September 2015
we ll see how much support you have on monday. i cant imagine any non union people wud go nor any educated anyone. this stinks of anger and retaliation. very unprofessional.
Thanks for that update
Comment by Molly K on 1st September 2015
Thank-you Sean for that release. Thank-you also for the years of bringing together workers and their families. See you there.
You shouldn't trust the word of politicians E.
Comment by F on 30th August 2015
How would you know this E?

Is this based on their prepared press releases?

Do you know what was said and done, prior to, during negotiations, and in mediation?

Were they looking out for the public when they refused to negotiate until after the trade deadline?

Were they looking out for the public when they still refused to address any of the core issues prior to the strike and then tried to starve the members out with hopes they would cave in and drop everything?

Were they looking out for the public when they removed previously agreed to language and prolonging the strike another 2 months only for them to eventually give the previously agreed to language back which at that point led to the rest of the pieces to fall in place and at that point the deal got done?

Were they looking out for the public when they were telling the public the strike was about money when the sides were only .5% apart on wages on the final year of the deal 1.5 months prior to settlement?

They held the town and the members ransom in an effort to punish the unionized membership to send a message to never question them again

The strike was about safety, training, seniority and full time work for those in precarious positions of employment. The settlement reflects that and so do the minutes of every meeting held. Maybe if they had agreed to joint minutes mayor and council would have known this instead got their info directly from management.

This could have and should have been done with out the strike if management and council decided to bargain in good faith when bargaining should have happened instead they didn't start to negotiate until the strike was 100 days old.

Now as a result you have a working environment which wasn't good before, now much worse and a community trapped in the middle. Labour disputes aren't anything to joke about they can rip apart communities, families, and friends. There's more to a strike/lockout than just the bottom line. It's happened here in the 70's with Alcan where close family's and friends were ripped apart depending on what side they were on. Royal oak mines labour dispute in NWT may have been Canada's worst which people get emotionally involved and things escalate.
This town thankfully never got close to that of royal oak mines. Hopefully next time the effect of what a strike can do to a community will be considered, especially during the 72hr strike notice where management chose to shut facilities down instead of negotiate to avert a strike. There are friends and families or people how previously didn't know each other now have hard feelings now as a result of the dispute, it has effected the community negatively and this bbq is another example of that.
unifors decision
Comment by Joe on 30th August 2015
At first I thought this action was more about Mr. Mclwrath ( the big baby) losing face and his immature way of getting back at council for not giving the union workers everything they wanted.
Now apparently this is endorsed by all the unifor executive.How can this be helpful in bring the community together . I don't believe most unifor workers feel this way and am disgusted by this decision . I have lost all respect for the union and myself and my family will not be part of any celebrations or picnic ever again. I also urge others to think about this and lets show our disgust by not attending the picnic maybe they will get the message. Why are we punishing council for doing their job and looking after the interests of all Kitimat citizens( even unifor workers) they should be congratulated for their effort in minding the purse strings and not bending over to all unifor demands. The strike is over lets move on.
Just Can't Let It Go
Comment by E on 28th August 2015
Just cannot let it go, can you? The Council did their job looking out for all residents NOT just the unionized.