After a weekend of scheduled mediation between union workers at Teck Trail Operations and Teck Resources, details on how the talks went were not available by Monday press time.
While local union president Chris Walker of United Steelworkers (USW) would not reveal specific points of contention, on Friday, he did say the impasse is monetary.
“The issues are largely financial at this point,” he told the Times June 24. “We are still hopeful to reach a settlement through the mediation process.”
Following a near unanimous vote in favour of strike (99.4 per cent) by the membership two weeks ago, the committee secured two days this past weekend to meet with mediator Vince Ready.
After the strike vote the company said, “Negotiations between Teck and United Steelworkers Locals 480 and 9705 representing workers at Teck Trail Operations are ongoing and the parties are scheduled to meet with mediators on June 26 and June 27. Our focus is on reaching an agreement that is fair to employees and supports the long-term sustainability of Trail Operations.”
Roughly 1,250 union workers are employed at Teck Trail.
Of note, USW Local 9705 employees have merged with USW Local 480.
Collectively, the membership is now called Local 480 O+T group.
Prior to merging, Local 480 represented around 1,000 production and maintenance workers and Local 9705 represented 200+ office/technical employees. Walker is now president to all union workers at Teck Trail.
Highlights from the mediated five-year contract ratified in 2017 — which expired June 1, 2022 — included an eight-per-cent wage increase over five years and a $14,500 signing bonus to each regular full-time employee. Benefits included $300 annually toward costs of a wellness account; rate increases to long term disability; cost of eye exams included in the biyearly $300 vision care benefit; and the company matching up to four per cent of base earnings for the group RRSP.
In 2008 and 2012 Teck and its unionized workers in Trail settled without a strike or mediation. The 2012 collective agreement included the biggest signing bonus, $10,000, the union had ever received to date. The last strike by Teck Trail union workers was in 2005, and lasted almost three months. Ratified Oct. 5 that year, the collective agreement for Trail workers provided wage increases of 10 percent, a 12-percent improvement in the basic pension, enhancements to a number of benefits and a $3,500 cash payment.