City of Kimberley, Steelworkers mediation fails

Union promises no work stoppage before JulyFest weekend

The USW represents both Kootenay Savings and City of Kimberley Union employees.

The USW represents both Kootenay Savings and City of Kimberley Union employees.

Mediation between the City of Kimberley and the United Steelworkers and Local 405-I failed, it was announced late Tuesday afternoon.

A strike does appear inevitable but Union spokesperson Jeff Bromley says it will not happen before JulyFest weekend.

“The bargaining committee is wrestling with the disappointment and what the next steps are,” said Bromley. “As most everyone in Kimberley knows, and in fact the region, this weekend is the biggest festival of the year. Julyfest means a lot to a lot of people in this community. Picket lines would disrupt that festival as most of it is on City property such as Rotary Park or the Civic Center. As a result, the bargaining committee has decided to look at some other options prior to issuing 72-hour strike notice.

““It doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen, it’s just not going to happen just yet.”

Prior to mediation, local members gave the Steelworkers a 99 per cent strike vote.

The City and Steelworkers met earlier this week with  the Director of the Mediation Division of the BC Labour Relations Board, Grant McArthur, but could not come to a collective agreement.

Bromley says it appears a labour dispute is “an eventuality”

“It’s extremely disappointing,” said Jeff Bromley, lead negotiator for the United Steelworkers Local 1-405 that represents the unionized workforce at the City of Kimberley. “Our Bargaining Committee was cautiously optimistic that mediation would be able to remove the obstacles. That didn’t happen.”

City CAO Scott Sommerville said that the City had no comment today.