Photo: Times file

Photo: Times file

No strike at Teck Trail after union votes 70% in favour of ratification

732 yes votes and 316 no votes means union locals reach settlement with Teck Resources

A union vote — nearing 70 per cent in favour of a new collective agreement — has skirted a strike at the Trail smelter.

The bargaining committee representing United Steelworkers Local 480 and Local 480 Office and Technical (formerly Local 9705) announced Friday (July 8) night that 732 “yes” votes and 316 “no’s” means 69.8 per cent of the membership is in favour of ratification.

“We would like to thank the membership for their continued support through this process,” the committee stated. “And we appreciated your patience as we fought hard to get this contract.”

The five-year settlement includes a $12,000 signing bonus retroactive to June 1, as well as a $2,000 bonus annually from 2023 to 2026.

Also retroactive to June 1 is a two per cent wage increase, and moving forward, a two per cent wage increase annually until June 1, 2026.

Increases will also be coming to basic pension amounts, to the Wellness Account, dental plan, and more.

“With the cost of living being so high, and some other issues on site, some of the members aren’t happy and didn’t want this contract,” Chris Walker, president of the locals, told the Trail Times. “732 versus 316 in favor is still a decent number. Though, again, the major sticking point is definitely the cost of living right now.”

The agreement covers approximately 1,250 unionized employees at Trail operations.

“We are pleased to have reached a collective agreement that is fair to employees and supports the long-term sustainability of Trail operations,” said Thompson Hickey, general manager, Trail operations.

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After presenting their positions with mediator Vince Ready over two days earlier this week, the bargaining committee for upwards of 1,200 Teck Trail union workers and the company remained at an impasse.

Both parties, however, did agree for Ready to provide recommended terms for settlement.

“As of June 28 at 11:30 a.m., your bargaining committee received the recommendations and are making preparations to present those to the membership,” the committee advised members late Tuesday.

“We have reached a tentative agreement pending a ratification vote from the membership.”

Ready’s recommendations will be presented to the membership at the Cominco Arena on Thursday, June 30, at 3:45 p.m. and again at 6:30 p.m.

Voting will take place in the arena at the conclusion of the 3:45 p.m. meeting and recommence after the 6:30 p.m. meeting.

Voting will continue at the Local 480 hall next week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday July 4, ending Friday, July 8.

Ballots will then be tallied and results released.

While union president Chris Walker couldn’t provide further details prior to the Thursday meetings, he did say, “it’s a tentative agreement so we are hopeful a deal will be done.”

Mediation followed a near unanimous strike vote (99.4 per cent) cast by union members earlier this month.

The most recent five-year collective agreement for Teck Trail union employees expired June 1, 2022.



newsroom@trailtimes.ca

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