The Cowichan Valley Regional District has been served 72 hours’ strike notice by the United Steel Workers (USW) Local 1-1937.
The USW represents 50 CVRD employees at Cowichan Lake Recreation, as well as solid waste employees at Bings Creek, Meade Creek and Peerless Road transfer stations and 34 water and sewer services.
The earliest possible job action could have occurred was as of 1:14 p.m. on Monday June 1st. “At this time, it is not known what, if any, job action may be planned by the USW,” said Chief Administrative Officer Brian Carruthers in a May 29 release.
The CVRD has made an application to the Labour Relations Board to determine essential service levels related to this labour dispute and was expecting a response from the LRB on Monday.
The parties have had five bargaining sessions but remain apart on wage and benefit issues.
“The CVRD has made a comprehensive offer of settlement to the USW on terms consistent with recent contract settlements with its Canadian Union of Public Employees and International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees local unions but this offer was rejected by the USW,” Carruthers said.
The USW Local 1-1937 conducted a strike vote May 8, with 97 percent of its members voting in favour of job action. “Contract talks failed after prolonged negotiations,” states a release from the union. “The union offered a much-reduced bargaining package in hopes of gaining a new agreement, but came to an impasse, with no movement from the CVRD negotiating committee.”
At issue are: seniority language; benefits for casual workers; wages; and premiums for certification tickets.
“It is our sincere hope that job action can be avoided,” states the USW release, “ but clearly the ball is in the CVRD’s court.”