City asks for membership vote, Union says their position hasn’t changed

It is the City's right under Sect. 78 of BC Labour Code to ask for membership vote, Union says

The City of Kimberley and United Steelworkers Local 1-405 made one more attempt at mediation this past Tuesday, August 9 but were unable to reach an agreement. Both sides of the labour dispute put out press releases this week. The union release stated that talks had stalled and no new talks were scheduled.

City of Kimberley CAO Scott Sommerville said in his release that the City has asked for a vote by the employees to accept or reject the City’s last offer.

“If the employees’ vote favours acceptance of the last offer, the terms of the last offer will become the new collective agreement between the parties. The City will be providing copies of the complete offer directly to the employees, with a provincially-supervised election process to follow.”

Jeff Bromley, USW 1-405 Negotiator, says the City is within its rights to ask for the vote.

“Under the B.C. Labour Code, Section 78, the employer has one time they can go to the membership on a final offer or best offer vote,” Bromley said Wednesday. “We caught wind of it last night. The committee expected it but we still have to agree on a date for the vote.

“They have the right to do that but that doesn’t change our opinion of the last offer. We don’t think that will change with the membership either.”

Bromley says the negotiating committee will meet with membership before the vote but he doesn’t know the timing yet.

“It’s the middle of the holiday season. A lot of people are away, but I’m thinking it will take place in the next couple of weeks,” he said.

In the meantime, nothing else will happen.

“They’ve applied for Section 78, so nothing happens until the vote happens,” Bromley said.