A GROUP of unions has made a sizable donation in support of the District of Kitimat workers who have been on strike since February 28.
The building trades union workers, stationed in Kitimat to work on the Kitimat Modernization Project, donated $12,000 to the relief fund.
The workers that donated out-of-pocket for the cause were from the BC Millwrights, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry, and the Ironworkers’ Union.
Sam Adams, Union Representative for the BC Millwrights, noted that it was the “working men on the ground” that really felt motivated to give to the striking Unifor 2300.
“As craftsmen that travel, they have seen what happens to the living wage in communities when union workers come into the area,” he said.
The presence of the unionized workers, Adams claims, drives up the cost of living in the area and displaces some people.
This is why he asked his coworkers to donate to the workers that are locked in a three-month stalemate with the District of Kitimat.
“It is just unions helping unions,” he explained.
This money will go towards holding over District workers, who are only receiving minimal strike pay from their union, until a deal can be reached.
Adams is pleased that his idea to ask his colleges to start a fund was so well received and hopes that other unions in the area will do the same.
Unifor 2300 workers have been striking over issues of wages, job security, safety and harassment.
The destructive negotiations have furthered the bitter dispute as the last of three mediation sessions ended a week ago.
Both the District of Kitimat and the union claim that the other side is refusing to make reasonable compromises with their proposals.
Last week, the District proposed binding arbitration, but the union rejected the offer.
The strike has halted Kitimat’s recreational services closing the pool, the arena, and the Senior’s Centre causing many events to be cancelled.