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October 28, 2017 5:09 am

Strike Reaches New Low in Kitimat

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 @ 4:34 PM

Kitimat, B.C. – It doesn’t look like pickets will be coming down any time soon in the District of Kitimat.

This as Unifor Local 2300 posted an update on Facebook today accusing the District of “abuse of power, abuse of process, and bad faith bargaining.”

Among many of their beefs, the union alleges when they provided the District with an Offer to Settle with 72 hour strike notice (on February 25), Council let them walk without looking at the offer.

“It is a catastrophic failure to due diligence on the part of Mayor and Council at the expense of over 100 families ability to put food on their tables,” said the union.

However the District’s Chief Administrative Officer, Ron Poole, takes issue with that claim.

“I don’t believe the union has gone back to its own members with our final offer to settle, which was given to them on February 24. So when they say we’re the ones not filling in council, it couldn’t be farther from the truth,” he says.

“Because their offer to settle really wasn’t much different then every time we’ve gone to council with their issues.”

The union also restates previous claims about “the poisonous abusive legacy” that needs fixing at the District and that both sides are at “war.”

Poole finds the wording troubling.

“I’ve never seen this kind of tactic. I refuse to call it a war, we’re negotiating.”

As for a poisonous workplace?

“I haven’t seen it. That’s why I was surprised when I heard it. I don’t want any member of this organization to feel they have to be treated that way. I’m fair.”

Aside from issues in the workplace, wages remain a sticking point in the dispute.

Unifor has already rejected the District’s three year contract offer with annual wage increases of 2.5% per year.

They instead accuse the Mayor, Council and District Managers of “using our members as part of a cost savings scheme for their almighty budget” and say for that they should be “ashamed and resign.”

The strike began February 28.


This is the main problem with unions. Poison the workforce and then when you settle it is happy days until the next dispute over wages. Once poisoned I don’t think there is an antidote – they will remain poisoned – only cure is to cut off the affected limb.

Did I read that right? They rejected 7.5 over 3?

This is the main problem with management.. They poison the work environment and ignore the unions offer and would rather have families hurting than bargain in good faith. Once management poisons the workers there is no antidote. The relationship will just get worse..the only cure is to get rid of management.

I wonder what they had before..maybe zero over the last 10 years..maybe they just wanted to try to stay up with inflation.


These municipal workers are probably underpaid, just like our own Prince George municipal workers!

You remember our municipal workers, the ones who went almost 30 years straight with wage increases each and every year, regardless of economic conditions and the taxpayers ability to pay! Yeah, those ones!

By the way, did anybody else catch the latest release from the CFIB, the one that shows how well public sector workers are paid when compared to private sector workers? I wonder if UNIFOR has read it??


lately, a lot of union run businesses have closed. Sucks to belong to a union. If you cant settle when a raise is offered, then don’t have a job. End of story. Many mills out west had to shut down over the years over picketers. Tumbler Ridge, Endako mines, university, Kitimat. Enough said.

I it doesn’t suck to belong to a union. I am a union member and receive the benefits that many of my Union brothers and sisters fought so hard for over many collective agreements. Mills don’t close because of unions.

Onemansthoughts.. Wow you. Reallyy don’t let the facts stop you from posting..tumbler ridge did not shut down from picketing..endako went under due to the drop in ore prices.. Didn’t know kitimat is shut down..don’t tell my brother he lives there..he hasn’t mentioned the town locking the doors yet..lol

A lot of mills shut down due to the pine beetle.. I wonder what unions did to cause that..lol

Kitimat has the highest growth in property values in Northern BC; Alcan is in the middle of a $500 million upgrade to the smelter and the District is refusing to pay its workers fairly. 2.5% doesn’t cover inflation, especially in Kitimat.

The Rio Tinto Alcan expansion program will be completed this year. There will be 2500 construction workers leaving the area, and in addition the plant will operate with 400 less employee’s.

Soooo. Unless something happens in the LNG business, Kitimat is in for a rough ride.

ryi it hasn’t been Alcan for years.. It’s now Rio tinto.

I wonder if the anti union folks want to go back to living like the common folk did in many of Charles Dickens’ novels. It is the unions that got us a good standard of living. Certainly not the leaders of industry like the Koch brothers, Trump, Pattison etc.

Mactac..I hear you.. Unions got us health care, benefits, vacation days and pay, Safety etc.. The haters either can’t get a job in a union shop,or are management and would rather screw the workers over than treat them like humans.

I grew up in a union family and watched what my dad had to fight for and it wasn’t wages it was a safer environment, better working hours and more employees it took 15 years of fighting with the government and being legislated back to work as an essential service but you know what my dads work environment went from being inherently unsafe to being safe no longer having to work 30 hrs plus in a row because of lack of manning and all I hear is people belly ache at how hard done by the unions are.

I am a proud member of the Union Unifor and before that CEP. We fought hard for what we got and you know what that spilt out into multiple industries both Union and non Union better working hours, safer working conditions, better quality of living, pension plans I can guarantee you that what we fought for if we hadn’t done it you would be working minimum wage working 12 hrs a day and no vacation time. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out.

i could tell you story after story of what it is like to work minimum wage and be treated like crap I can also tell you story after story of the crap my dad put up with to make your life better of how he was threatened, run off the road, taunted and even refused service in this great city of PG all because he was a Union man fighting for better everything. But what good would it do to someone who doesn’t believe the unions are good for anything now

Why do unions exist… Because lousy management exists :-)

Unions would have never been created if it wasn’t for poor management..

Unions did some good in the past, but that is absolutely no reason to keep them around. They have outlived their usefulness and do nothing but cause instability and take away competitiveness. They will go the way of the dodo bird soon. The next generation will see to it.

P Val, Unions exist nowadays only as a business! They are in the business of collecting dues while creating mediocrity and inefficiency. They do this by stifling competitiveness, efficiency and innovation and they do this by allowing incompetent workers to continue to be incompetent.

P Val, are you one of those mediocre workers, inefficient in your job, striving to do only as little as is required to keep your job, putting in your time only to collect a paycheque and a pension, yet willing to do nothing to make your workplace more efficient, more competitive, more profitable and more likely to succeed? Are you one of those workers P Val?

A long time ago, I worked in a Union environment. I wasn’t one of those people and I couldn’t stand working next to slack, lazy self-entitled people day in and day out! It didn’t take me long to figure out that a unionized workplace wasn’t for me!

So P Val, are you one of those workers??

Dearth, you fought hard for what you got?

Tell me, what did you do that was so hard?

Was it as hard as what a business owner has to do to keep his or her doors open?

Was it as hard as what a business owner has to do to keep his or her employees employed and working full time?

Was it as hard as what a business owner has to do to make payroll every two weeks?

Was it as hard as a business owner has it, sometimes having to work day in and day out to make a success of the business?

Was it as hard as a business owner has it, going to work regardless of whether he or she is healthy or ill?

Was it as hard as a business owner not being able to actually take a vacation for years?

Was it that hard, Dearth? Was it??

Didn’t think so!!

Dearth, maybe before the LRB you had a point

Exactly what Hart Guy said! I am an employer and non union. I work 16 hr days, seven days a week for months at a time. My people make double what any union people make in their trades. I have them on dental and an rrsp account set up for them. I purchase their tools and gloves etc, run new equipment, give them fuel and also purchase a lot of perks.I have 20 year old kids with 80k to 100k t-4’s. I worked union in a past life, I watched my dues go to some ivory tower in Vancouver. I also worked for a local union that did nothing for me except leave me working with whiny spoiled pot heads that would try anything to create drama!I am damn proud of what I accomplished and my employees are the world to me.

The UNBC teachers got paid for the time off for the winter games.
They would have been paid for this, then they strike soon after.
They are not too popular at this time? Do I have this right?

checkitout- Good on you. The problem you have is not all employers think like you. It appears you are willing to share the wealth with your employees but not all employers are the same. As far as the LRB looking after employees as slinky mentioned I would not be too sure of that. Unions came about because they were needed.

Thanks checkitout! I am a business owner, my brother is a business owner and my parents were business owners. Back in the day, my father usually took one day off per year, Christmas Day!! I would bet dimes to dollars that he could have outworked 100% of the Union whiners on this site!

My mother worked side by side with my Dad, year after year and I’d be willing to bet that she also could have outworked the vast majority of Union workers!

They successfully ran a business for the better part of a quarter century. They created jobs and they paid better than the going rate for those jobs! They deserved every ounce of success that they garnered.

I get really annoyed at those that think the world owes them a living. I also get annoyed at those that demand that people like my parents and you for that matter, should pay more, more, more to those that take no risk, put in no extra effort and cower behind a Union!

On yesterday’s Noon News, Irene Lanzinger, the new head of the BCFED commented on a new CFIB report, a report that showed that Public Sector wages and benefits far exceed those in the Private Sector. She stated that she does not apologize for the high level of compensation in the Public Sector. She instead suggests that it is the Private Sector that needs to step up to the plate and offer higher wages and benefits, more in line with the Public Sector.

There is absolutely nothing in this woman’s career that would suggest that she has any clue as to how a private business operates and the challenges that it faces! She has been a Public Sector worker all of her working career, and yet she now feels that she constant suckling on the public teat qualifies her to tell the Private Sector how it should operate.

What a moron! And she now sits at the helm of the BCFED! Lord, help us all!!

@ oldman1, you state that Unions came about because they were needed.

While I agree that was true many many years ago, I don’t believe that to be so true today!

The Union was needed at Lakeland! It collected it’s monthly dues from the workers at Lakeland. According to some of those workers, dust accumulations were at unsafe levels. Workers had concerns and shop stewards had concerns. The Union should have stepped in and it should have pulled the workers from the job site! The Union did nothing and now takes a “holier than thou” position!

Unions constantly demand that companies share the profits with the workers! Well, there is lots of blame in the Lakeland tragedy! The Union seems to want to lay all blame on the Company, the Government and on WorkSafe. The Union has yet to acknowledge that it too must accept it’s share of the blame in this tragedy!

I’d hate to see unions go, I think they still play an important role. I know a lot of employers who do treat the employees well, but the reason is often – to keep the union out. So the threat of a union, does pull up conditions for the non union.

But, at the same time unions are probably costing their members jobs as they make the cost of operating noncompetitive. In my short and not so illustrious career as management, I had a situation where I had to lay off people. I had two guys “qualified” for the same crucial position in the mill – one could process 20% more volume than the other, and we were on a tight margin as it was, so anything that increased throughput helped – they were hired one day apart, unfortunately, the slower guy was hired first. The IWA insisted we keep the slower guy and our argument he wasn’t qualified because he was significantly slower than the other guy, fell on deaf ears. Seniority is everything to a union – even if it makes operations noncompetitive – in that way, they are living in the dark ages.

That mill operates sporadically today. I would say that the union played a roll in it becoming a shadow of what it was, because the owners actually got tired of the union crap and only ran it when the absolutely had to. Eventually the workers figured it out, decertified, but by then it was too late.

If unions would concentrate on protecting workers for unreasonable management behavior, give up on the sacred seniority clause, because our competitors in China sure don’t care who got hired first, they just care who can do the job best, and quit protecting workers who really have no interest in working, I think they could make a come back. Because even the workers realize that when some lazy slob gets to keep the job, for no better reason than he’s been there longer, that it can affect them all.

Many valid points Ski51, although I think you might have missed one! ;-)

“Because even the workers realize that when some lazy slob gets to keep the job, for no better reason than he’s been there longer, that it can affect them all.”

When you have the lazy slob who gets to keep his job, I would suggest that some of the “harder working” employees begin to question why they are working harder? Rather than having a work environment where the lazy slobs are encouraged to work harder, the harder working employees begin to work less hard! The mentality becomes one of “why should I bust my a$$, when my coworkers don’t bother to?”

And thus begins the downward spiral of productivity!

Good post hartguy and checkitout, most people don,t have a clue, what it is to be an employer,to put in longer than the 40 hours others work, to make sure there is enough work to keep good employees, and to find them. And to risk all you have to keep your business going

ski51—There is a probationary period possible 3-6 months with most union contracts so why did you not get rid of the slow lazy slob in that time period . If he was good enough for you to keep him that long how did it all of sudden come that his senority should not apply. Many employers do not supervise the employees in the probationary period and then complain afterwards.

Hart guy.. I work at a non Union shop and you know what.. I have great benifits and pay thanks to the unions, I have a sweet retirement fund..thanks to unions.. I work in an extremely safe environment thanks to unions..

But you know what.. I work with some great people and a few lazy sobs.. Unions don’t make people lazy.. People choose to be lazy all by themselves… Places that pay ppl $25,000 a year and some that pay $150,000 have lazy people. Union or not. But you go ahead and blame unions all you want.. Ignorance is free

Extremely well said P Val

Oldman 1 – read my post again. We had two guys, with one day difference in seniority, the guy with the lesser day was about 20% faster than the other guy. We argued that he should stay, because he was more qualified, they said, didn’t matter, and threatened us with the LRB if we laid him off. I didn’t say the other guy was a lazy slob, I just said an employee with one day less seniority was more qualified, and the whole mill suffered because of their intransigence. This position affected the overall flow of the mill, and they just didn’t care – that’s my point. And as for the 3 to 6 months probation – most people can behave for about that long, and then when their union card shows up, you find out what they’re really like. Then it’s the painful verbal warning, written warning, 1 day suspension, 3 day suspension 5 day suspension – and then, only then, you might actually get to fire him.

The gist of my post – is unions are useful in our society – they would become more relevant if they would ease up in the areas where they end up protecting non-productive workers, which Hart Guy correctly points out – creates lack of productivity in other workers, and like it or not, we are in a global market place, and if we can’t compete, no one has a job.

I wish we could go back to the good old days where Canada had tariffs, we made our own stuff, and we could afford to be unproductive, but Mulroney fixed all that, and now, it’s compete or die.

And for what it’s worth, the early part of my working career was as an apprentice pipe-fitter local 170, and I was a lazy snot on my first job and they fired me (and the foreman was also in the union) and I had go to union headquarters in Burnaby and kiss butt and apologize for being a s**t before they would send me out again. That union at that time understood, company doesn’t make money, no one makes money.

And like Dearth, my father was a strong union man, physically fought with Pinkerton guards on picket lines, and came home with bruised knuckles. I know what it was like before unions, and a few naive posters think the labour standards branch and LRB compensate – they don’t. But at the same time, business can’t thrive and pay good wages, if they always have to look over their shoulder to see what the union thinks, before they can properly discipline an employee, and pick the most effective crew for their workplace. Times have changed.

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