Mediation? Arbitration? The only sure thing in all of this is frustration.
After a three-day long mediation marathon earlier this week any hopes that a resolution would be found to the months-long municipal strike were dashed when the District of Kitimat announced there was no agreement to be had.
It was the District’s and Unifor 2300’s second go at mediation.
In light of correspondence released in the week ahead of round two, when Unifor’s business agent Martin McIlwrath suggested the sides were “close” to an agreement, many were keen to hope that one second swing would get the sides together.
The District was brief in their announcement of a mediation break down last week.
“The District of Kitimat is disappointed that mediation ended today without reaching a new Collective Agreement,” the town released to their website May 13. “The mediator remains available to the parties although no further dates have been set at this time.”
The mayor said there were no further comments relating to negotiations to be made as of Friday, just ahead of our print deadline.
The union itself also had nothing to add at the time about negotiations.
Meanwhile, Unifor 2301 did successfully pass a motion that they will offer of an additional one hour’s dues assessment for two months after an agreement is eventually made — formalizing a past offer from their executive. 2301 will also provide two months worth of one hour extra dues to 2300 members right away, following votes which took place last Thursday and Friday.
“It’s a significant financial support,” said Unifor Business Agent Martin McIlwrath.
In an e-mail to the Sentinel he had also written, “This will enable them to get a fair Collective Agreement, no matter how long it takes.”
The Kitimat Chamber of Commerce meanwhile has issued a statement emphasizing the impacts of the dispute.
“This is a crucial time for Kitimat as developers, investors and business owners are planning and preparing for new industrial developments in the community,” said Chamber Chair Derick Stinson. “The longer it takes to reach a fair, equitable and reasonable solution for both sides the longer it will take for the community to recover from this current labour dispute.”
The Chamber concludes by urging both sides to “make every possible effort” to resolve the strike, “in order that we can all refocus our energies and strengths on building a strong and sustainable future for Kitimat.”