To All You Working Folk,
First off, I want to thank members for showing their support. Through your kind words, phone calls, wearing swag, or not giving into the Company’s bullying tactics, every day you show the resolve of our union, and our commitment to a fair, respectful collective agreement. Throwing away your bargaining flags and cutting them off trucks is not only disrespectful, it was destroying your personal property. Responding in kind may seem tempting— please continue to take the high road.
To be very clear, we are still a long ways from completing negotiations. The Company had four months to start bargaining prior to Sept 30th, they decided to wait until the end of August to bring their 57 proposals to the table, a total of over 220 pages of documents. Now they are in a rush to take all your rights away, and have applied to the Labour Board for mediation.
In response, the Union advised the Labour Board:
“United Steelworkers believes this application is premature and should not be granted as the parties have not finished negotiations for non-monetary issues, and the outstanding issues that the employer has listed are proposals in the employers non-monetary and monetary proposals that the parties have not had any discussion or negotiation on. The Parties have met on the dates as outlined by the employer and have signed off on a significant number of proposals”
The Union has proposed two extra bargaining dates for Nov 16th and 17th, which have been confirmed.
Last week you also saw HVC management offer local media a comment on the quarterly report. They didn’t do the same last year; they didn’t do the same last quarter. Why now? Because we’re bargaining. Veiled threats of tough times are not a new threat. We’ve heard it all before. From Lornex to Cominco, to Teck; they always claim they’re financially challenged when it’s time to bargain. But when Steelworkers stick together we’ve always made progress.
Let’s remember, this is from a HVC management team whose evidence BC Supreme Court Justice Groves referred to earlier this year as “unbelievable,” “dishonest,” “unconvincing,” and “self-serving.”[i] In fact, the books show Teck is making money and specifically making money at HVC. Copper Prices may be down from all-time highs, but they still deliver healthy profits. This round of bargaining isn’t about tough financial times, it’s about a management that wants to reduce your rights on the job, increase contracting out and not share the profits you’ve helped generate.
As a final comment, if this management team has done such a bang up job running the mine site to date, then why would you ever “plan” your mine site future to take away benefits, rights and language from your employees? Only the worst type of management leverages their workforce to ensure they make ends meet, rather than planning to ride out the low spots by not mining out your best ore body prematurely.
We will have the Nov 15th membership meeting in Logan Lake, which we hope everyone who is able will attend. It will be at the Logan Lake Fire Hall at 8:30am - 6:00pm and 8:30pm- with parking available in the mall parking lot. This is a good time to discuss, ask questions, and get answers to all those burning questions.
Stay calm, stay informed, answer rumors with facts, and let’s support each other.
Kyle Wolff, USW 7619 President
[i] Jylha v. Teck Highland Valley Copper Partnership,, 2016 BCSC 1174