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HomeNewsStrike vote: union for Strathcona Gardens workers cites spike in cost of...

Strike vote: union for Strathcona Gardens workers cites spike in cost of living

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The union for workers at Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex says the Regional District should return to the bargaining table to avoid a strike.

The workers have rejected a four-year contract proposal that had wage hikes of 2 to 2 and a quarter percent per year, and have voted 100% for strike action. 

According to a Strathcona Regional District news release, prior to the contract expiring December 31, 2020. “…the employer and union bargaining committees met to negotiate the terms of a new agreement. The parties were able to narrow the bargaining landscape to a handful of issues, the most significant being wages.”

The RD applied to the Labour Board in March, seeking a mediator to assist with resolving the outstanding issues. “The Labour Board appointed Mr. Trevor Sones, who assisted the parties in drafting a tentative agreement. Both parties agreed to take the tentative agreement to their respective ratification process, with their recommendation to accept the tentative agreement.”

In its own news release, the United Steelworkers Union says “Local 1-1937 members  from the Strathcona Gardens Regional District Recreation Complex, met on August 31, 2021, to review and  ratify a tentative agreement. The ratification vote was defeated later that day by a very high percentage.”

Shelley Siemens, Business Agent for USW Local 1-1937 stated, “After listening closely to our members it was  determined that two big areas of concern were the employers desire to delete the term “mutual agreement” from some employee shifting language and had significant concerns over the wage proposal due to the rapidly rising cost-of-living for rental housing, the price of groceries and fuel costs…USW members were adamant that  the wages increases needed to at least prevent them from falling further behind”.

“The USW Bargaining Committee met again with the SRD Bargaining Committee on October 5th to relay the  concerns of the members, and after meeting, the employer’s negotiator emailed the Union saying they felt that the offer was fair and would not meet further. The negotiator has not made any attempt to bargain further with the Union.

The Union has since conducted a strike vote (October 12, 2021), where members voted 100% in favour of a  strike.”

USW claims the RD is paying substantially higher wages for the  same job in a different facility, and Strathcona Gardens management gave themselves raises above the cost of  living, while the RD says the proposed wage increases are on par with other recently negotiated agreements on North and Mid Vancouver Island.

While the workers have voted unanimously on taking strike action, the union says for now, they’re waiting for a response from the Regional District.

About Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex

Strathcona Gardens Recreation Complex is a multi-use facility located within the City of Campbell River and is owned and operated by the Strathcona Regional District. The complex includes two ice arenas, a leisure ice pad, a 37.5 metre pool, a leisure pool, a weight room, a fitness studio and meeting rooms. This is a well used facility that services and is funded by the taxpayers of the City of Campbell River and Electoral Area “D” – Black Creek – Oyster Bay.

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