Kitimat council, union won’t be breaking bread at labour day picnic

Unifor 2301 has officially shut out Kitimat mayor and council from their Labour Day picnic.

Unifor 2301 has decided they want to distance themselves from Kitimat mayor and council in light of this year’s municipal strike by Unifor 2300 workers.

It was revealed in the release of a letter, posted to councillor Mary Murphy’s political Facebook page, that the union’s executive passed a motion “to not allow Kitimat Mayor & Council to attend our 2015 Labour Day picnic event.”

The union holds the picnic each year on the Labour Day weekend which includes kids activities and a barbecue.

It’s typically a public event for anybody.

The letter also states that “To insure that our event is successful and to be pro-active we will inform the RCMP of our decision.”

Mayor Phil Germuth says he is disappointed to learn of the union’s move.

“It’s unfortunate. Events like that are really supposed to be an opportunity for all of us to get together and build relationships.

We were looking to move that relationship forward to the benefit of the District and all the staff and all our workers. That is what it is and we will respect their wishes,” he said.

Germuth didn’t attend last September’s picnic but did attend the year before that. He would have been a city councillor at the time.

He says that the council and the District are still committed to fostering a relationship between themselves and the union.

“That’s our commitment, to over time build that relationship.”

That includes holding meetings with the union twice a year to hear concerns.

He said the first meeting under the new Collective Agreement has not been scheduled yet.

The Sentinel could not reach Unifor 2301 Business Agent Martin McIlwrath by our press deadline for comment on the union’s decision, but according to CBC the union did not intend to have the letter be made public.

Germuth says the letter didn’t meet the criteria which would determine if a letter is made confidential.

“Any letter to mayor and council is a public document. Unless it is actually covered by the provisions of a closed meeting…it’s out duty to make it public.”