United Steelworkers from locals 480 and 9705 are being asked to speak up about what matters most.
With the clock ticking on their contracts with Teck Trail Operations, union leaders are urging members to put pen to paper well in advance of any bargaining sessions – approximately 950 production and maintenance workers from Local 480 and 160 office/technical employees from Local 9705 were recently mailed a priority list.
Bargaining committees from both locals met in December to discuss and plan for upcoming negotiations with Teck – the current contract for both unions expires at the end of May.
A Local 480 bargaining committee with two operators and two trades representatives has been elected along with a grievance chair, and now they need to hear from the membership, confirmed President Armindo deMedeiros.
“Priority sheets were mailed out last week to members’ homes seeking input from them,” deMedeiros told the Trail Times. “Besides that, it’s pretty quiet for now.”
The priority sheets are key for both locals as they direct the bargaining committee at the table.
“This is everyone’s chance to shape our next contract,” the committees advised in a joint statement. “So take a little time, think about what is important to you now and in the future, and get it filled out. You can drop them off at the hall, or give them to a union rep in your area.”
The present contract was signed in June 2012 and included a $10,000 signing bonus. Back then, deMedeiros pointed out that a signing bonus and longer contract duration (five years as opposed to four years) were the top priorities listed on a priority sheet the union mailed to its members earlier that year.
Traditionally the Trail union liked to negotiate with any extra money asked for, being put into wages or the pension. But that time around, the signing bonus was pretty high on the priority list, deMedeiros told the Trail Times in the June interview.
“The membership is content and we are leaning towards a younger workforce right now so, for a lot of them, it’s their first big paying job and they are content with what they are doing,” he said. “And a contract like this shows the commitment from the company, too.”