FortisBC responds to comments

Fortis responds to the letter "Who is greedy in FortisBC lockout?"

With FortisBC’s labour dispute continuing despite our efforts toward a resolution, we believe it is important to provide your readers with information regarding recent comments in the Trail Times from Scott Ross, (Who is greedy in FortisBC lockout? Trail Times, Nov. 12) a FortisBC employee represented by IBEW 213.

Recently the union membership voted down a second tentative agreement. The deal was signed and recommended to the membership for ratification by the bargaining committee and by Rod Russell.

We are disappointed with the choice to continue job action and had wanted to see our employees return to work. Clearly the membership and the bargaining committee have different perspectives that will need to be worked through.

These employees make a good wage.  On average, compensation including benefits is $127,000 per year.  This most recent tentative agreement saw a further increase to wages; no changes to benefits and the removal of a productivity enhancement from a prior settlement recommendation from a union selected mediator regarding travelling to and from job sites.

Prior to our two most recent negotiations, FortisBC and the union agreed to an agenda that included a four-day work week and staffing of our system control centre. Both items would reduce costs and enhance productivity for customers while seeing additional wage premiums and value for employees.

Since 2001, some employees represented by IBEW 213 have been working a four-day work week which requires agreement between the company and the employees.  In bargaining both parties agreed to a change that would be part of a new collective agreement and would be in accordance with BC Labour Law. Now, employees who are requested by FortisBC to work this shift would receive a premium of an additional five per cent for all hours worked on the schedule, and an annual shift schedule will be posted giving families time to plan ahead.

Employees in FortisBC’s System Control Centre have traditionally been designated as essential by the Labour Relations Board and have been required to work during a labour disruption. This norm was challenged by the IBEW both in essential services negotiation and in their threat to walk out of the control room leaving it without personnel.  In recent negotiations, FortisBC and the union agreed on a solution that would designate these roles as essential to avoid offsetting wage increases with future training costs for management employees to fulfill this task. The avoidance of these costs directly benefits IBEW employees and FortisBC’s customers.

Throughout these negotiations we have tried to reach an agreement that meets the needs of our employees and customers.  We have bargained in good faith.  And we remain committed to reaching a new collective agreement.

Joyce WagenaarDirector, FortisBC communicationsKelowna

Just Posted

2019 Colombo Lodge executives

The 2019 men and ladies executives were sworn in at the installation ceremonies earlier this month

Mounties warn about open liquor at Rossland Carnival

They’ll be out there watching for illegal drinking

The Trail Smoke Eaters win in a shootout over Wenatchee Wild

The Trail Smoke Eaters split its two-game series against the Wenatchee Wild on weekend

River rising in Trail

For up-to-date reservoir elevation and river flow information, visit BC Hydro’s website bchydro.com

Former ski champ and MLA’s son hope to open Castlegar cannabis store next month

Felix Belczyk and Ben Conroy are in the approval process for local Spiritleaf outlet

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

New military armoury opens in Cranbrook

Military presence in the Key City a part of the 44th Engineer Squadron

Most Read