Teck Trail Operations, July 22, from the Columbia River Skywalk. (Sheri Regnier photo)

Teck Trail Operations, July 22, from the Columbia River Skywalk. (Sheri Regnier photo)

USW votes on new agreement this week

Teck Metals Ltd. has accepted Vince Ready’s recommendations for a new contract.

Teck Metals Ltd. has agreed to terms of a new collective agreement with its union workers.

Whether or not United Steelworker locals 480 and 9705 are in favour of the new five-year deal however, remains an unknown until Thursday evening.

Union leaders presented details of mediator Vince Ready’s recommendations to their membership on July 20, voting opened the following day and runs over four days this week.

“The bargaining committee is recommending the mediator’s recommendations,” Local 480 President Armindo deMedeiros told the Trail Times.

Voting is taking place Monday to Thursday this week from 7 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. in the Union Hall, he confirmed.

“With the vote count Thursday after the polls close.”

The collective agreement, if ratified, would be retroactive to June 1 and expire at the end of May 2022.

“Teck has accepted the mediator’s recommendations that were received on July 17,” Community Relations Leader Catherine Adair confirmed to the Trail Times.

“We respect the negotiation process, and, as such, cannot comment on the details of those recommendations.”

However, the Trail Times obtained a copy of the tentative agreement.

Highlights include an eight per cent wage increase over five years and a $14,500 signing bonus to each regular full-time employee payable within 30 days of the agreement’s ratification.

Benefits include $300 annually toward costs of a wellness account; rate increases to long term disability; cost of eye exams included in the biyearly $300 vision care benefit; and the company matching up to four per cent of base earnings for the group RRSP.

The collective agreement between Teck and the USW locals expired May 31, affecting over 900 production and maintenance workers and approximately 160 office/technical employees.

The last time the Trail smelter was hit with a strike was 2005. Workers were off the job for 79 days until eventually approving a three-year contract.

In 2008 and 2012 Teck and its unionized workers settled without a strike or mediation. The 2012 collective agreement included the biggest signing bonus, $10,000, the union had ever received.