Members of United Steelworkers (USW) locals 480 and 9705 packed the Charles Bailey Theatre on Tuesdayto hear the latest from their bargaining committee.
The two meetings, one at 3:45 p.m. and one a 6:30 p.m., were called after recent talks between Teck Trail Operations and the unions reach a stalemate last week. On the heels of that stalemate came the call for a strike vote, which prompted the talk with the members.
The turnout was “a very positive sign,” said Armindo deMedeiros, president of USW Local 480.
“We had over two-thirds of the membership show up. We had two meetings and the first one was just packed.”
DeMedeiros said the bargaining committee presented the outstanding issues to the members then opened up the floor for questions.
The strike vote began after the meeting and will continue through Thursday until 4 p.m.
DeMedeiros stressed that the strike vote doesn’t mean the members are headed for the picket line immediately.
“We explained that this is part of the process. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to go on strike.
“The strike vote is part of the process to get a strong mandate of support from the membership. Our plans are to continue bargaining in hopes of reaching a settlement. It’s not the union’s intent to take the membership out on strike.
“We’re headed to mediation at the end of the month. We have two days scheduled already with mediator Vince Ready for June 29 and 30.”
With the voting wrapping up at 4 p.m. Thursday, deMedeiros said members should start getting informed of the results by around 5 p.m. via Facebook, messaging and other communications.