It’s a crucial week for members of Steelworkers Local 1-405 and the City of Kimberley as members will vote on Thursday afternoon on the last contract offered by the City.
The City has an opportunity under the BC Labour Code to ask for a membership vote one time, and they have exercised that right.
Steelworker members were scheduled to meet with their leadership on Monday night, and Jeff Bromley, on the negotiating team for USW, says their position has not changed.
“We will recommend that our members don’t ratify this vote,” he said. “Our committee has worked hard to get about 80 per cent of the way there. The last 15 to 20 per cent, the three outstanding issues, are roadblocks. We need our membership to give us permission to continue to bargain.”
Asked if he had spoken to any members and if he could gauge their mood, Bromley replied, “The mood is fear. They are scared. I am being told that their managers tell them ‘you will be locked out’. It’s just not fair.
“We believe we can get by these outstanding issues with some time and effort.”
Bromley says it has always been a committee position that they are ready to return to the bargaining table. He says no matter what the outcome of Thursday’s vote, it is unlikely there would be a strike notice.
“It is not our intention to issue a strike notice. Our intention is to bargain.
“I don’t know if it is the intention of the City to lock us out. The Mayor has said some things in the media, but he isn’t saying lock out, flat out. He’s being a little coy. I don’t want to believe they will lock us out over three issues.”
Bromley also says that he wants to believe that it won’t be a close vote on Thursday — that the membership will turn down the offer resoundingly.
“Obviously I’m a little biased, but I want to believe it won’t be a tight vote. Is is rare that these type of votes get approved. It’s never happened in our local.”