A deal to end the 12-week old strike in Kitimat could be near, says the union representing 127 workers at the District. Unifor says that it is eager to negotiate an end to the strike but language agreed to previously has been taken off of the table.
“As long as the District’s bargaining team doesn’t run us in circles, I think we’re close to a deal,” said Scott Doherty, an Assistant to the National President with Unifor. “But one thing is for sure: we’re not going backwards. No deal is possible if the District thinks that it can take items off the table that have already been agreed to.”
This month more than 2,000 Kitimat residents—more than the voter turnout in the last municipal election—signed a petition telling the Mayor and Council that taking negotiations backwards is unacceptable.
“We’re as eager as anyone to resume services to the citizens of Kitimat, but we can’t do that if the negotiators are going in circles because the District can’t make up it’s mind about what it is offering,” said Martin McIlwrath, Local 2300 Business Agent.
The District and Unifor Local 2300 have gone through three rounds of mediated talks. Unifor says that it has moved significantly but the employer is unwilling to do its part to resolve the dispute.
After initially agreeing to a floor for the number of full-time positions providing services to Kitimat residents, the District backtracked. McIlwrath says that without a minimum number of full-time workers, town services will suffer.