Labour Board Applications
As mentioned in our last bulletin, the Union had been advised of two Labour Board applications that were going to be put in. The day after being notified, RTA filed an application for an “Essential Services” order and Bechtel filed an application for a “Common Site” order.
The RTA application is based on the existing and projected water level in their reservoir. Their position is that they have made ongoing efforts to manage the water to reduce the risk of flooding and that if they are unable to generate power in Kemano there will likely be flooding in the Vanderhoof area. RTA is asking the Labour Relations Board to order that certain hourly employees in the Kemano and Kitimat Control rooms continue working during a strike/lock-out.
Our initial position to the Labour Relations Board is that we can agree there is an element of essential services, the scope to be determined. The Union will take part in mediation through the LRB next week in Vancouver. As part of the procedure, the Union and Company are prohibited from commencing a strike/lock-out until the application has been ruled on and an order made. This has the potential of affecting our rights when the contract expires; we will be dealing with this as the process moves forward.
The Bechtel application for common site relief is based on their concern that any potential picketing we might do with RTA will have a negative effect on their project(s) as well. This application is made along with the companies working at KMP and Tunnel #2 in Kemano. RTA has supported this application in that they have offered alternate picketing sites on their property as an alternative to us using the railway track location. One of the issues with this application revolves around whether their application, if successful, would result in the Union no longer being able to run an effective picket line. The Union will also take part in mediation through the Labour Relations Board next week in Vancouver on this application.
We have been in ongoing discussions with our lawyers, our National Union and the BC Federation of Labour in preparation for next week.
As we move closer to our contract expiry, the Union will at some point be conducting a strike vote. This vote is necessary to put the Union in a legal position to strike. All active bargaining unit members in good standing are entitled to take part in a strike vote. Bargaining unit members include all hourly workers who are members in good standing and have paid their $10.00 Membership fee to the Union and filled out their Union card. If you have not joined the Union you are encouraged to do so by coming down to the Union Hall and filling out the necessary form. Please note you must pay your membership fee with cash or cheque.
Also, in order to be eligible to receive strike pay assistance, you must be a member in good standing. Please make sure you get to the Union Hall and sign up before the expiry of our contract if you haven’t already done so.
The Union Strike Contingency committee has been meeting with RTA over the last few weeks discussing different issues we might face in the event of a strike or lock-out. These are issues like removing tools from the workplace, maintenance of health benefits, retirement during a strike, pay issues, etc.
There is one immediate consideration that you need to be aware of regarding any banked pay you may have. The Company position is that they will only accept and process requests to sell vacation, floaters and/or banked stats until July 23rd at 3 pm and will withhold up to two weeks of vacation pay if you haven’t already taken your two weeks mandatory vacation this year. If this is something you are considering please take note of the cut off date and time.
Issued by CAW Local 2301
July 13, 2012