Mediation between City of Kimberley, USW stalls

One day of talks on Tuesday but not enough progress to continue; no further talks scheduled

  • Aug. 10, 2016 8:00 p.m.

After one further day of negotiations this week

United Steelworkers Local 1-405 has issued a press release saying talks with the City of Kimberley have broken off.

After a fourth day of meditation with the BC Labour Relations mediator – a majority of the committee coming off of their holidays to meet – talks have broken down once again between the USW and City of Kimberley, the release says.

Following some movement between the two parties in an attempt to get a collective agreement, the three main sticking points continued provide a barrier to getting an agreement.

Special Vacation was to be grandfathered in the City’s last offer which precluded some of the current employees from receiving the benefit.

The current Job Evaluation System – S.E.S – was to be taken out of the collective agreement and not replaced, enabling the employer to change jobs, descriptions and duties as they see fit without any recourse for the employee to have the position fairly evaluated.

The Operator 1,2 and 3 Letter of Understanding #14 was also eliminated by the employer in their last offer.

The elimination of S.E.S. also brought a new wage scale by the employer, one that offered some positions an 18% raise, a majority of the positions 1.5% (each year over four years), while the Parks and Arena Department would receive 1% each year for the four-year deal.

Each of which meant:

 A two-tiered special vacation benefit between current employees along with new ones;

 No evaluation system for unionized positions. Employer could change as they seen fit

 The elimination of the Operator 1,2 and 3 training system negotiated in 2013

 Large wage increases for 2-3 employees; small increases for a majority of employees and even smaller for the Parks and Facilities Department.

Unfortunately, the aforementioned proposals presented a real barrier to achieving a fair collective agreement. It was summarily rejected by the bargaining committee.

While the committee believes we have been progressive on a number of issues and proposals, the original and now modified concessions presented by the employer continue to provide a barrier to a new collective agreement.

A membership meeting will be scheduled in the very near future.


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