City of Kimberley, Steelworkers wait on essential services ruling

Update, City and Steelworkers agree to one more day of mediation

City of KImberley CAO Scott Sommerville reports that the City has requested another day of mediation with the Union through Grant MacArthur to finalize the essential services order and possibly negotiate an agreement, and the Union has agreed, as of Wednesday morning, to return to mediation.

The date has yet to be determined.

Steelworkers 1-405 members met with Union leaders at Centennial Hall in Kimberley on Monday evening, and Jeff Bromley from the Steelworkers says that the mood  of members is “upset”.

“To be honest members feel upset, they feel attacked by some of the comments the Mayor has made in the media. They are taking some of these comments personally.

“They know, we know, that Kimberley is not a rich city. Money doesn’t grow on trees. We know that. Any deal, we hope, would include a reasonable, fair wage increase, but as we have said all along, money isn’t an issue. But the attack on vacation, on the job evaluation program, it’s upsetting.

“The Mayor keeps asking us to be part of the solution but they aren’t asking us to participate in that way. We are being told.”

Right now, the situation is going through the process of establishing essential services with the Labour Relations Board. Bromley says both the city and union went back and forth on Friday and Monday about what the numbers are.

“The employer would say we need x amount of people and we understand that, but the employers says it wants snow removal as an essential service. It’s July. I think that could be dealt with down the road. Where we disagree are the levels.”

Bromley says he expects there should be something hammered out by the end of this week. If it’s not, it will go to hearings.

Until the Labour Relations Board makes the ruling on essential services, there won’t be a strike or a lock out.

“Either side can give notice,” Bromley said. “But nothing can happen until there’s a ruling.”

“Hopefully cooler heads will prevail. We won’t panic.”

Mayor Don McCormick was unavailable for comment.