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

Photo: Trail Times
Trail RCMP start June by nabbing impaired drivers

Latest brief from the Trail and Greater District police

“This is very costly to replace and it seems that Rossland is getting more and more theft and vandalism happening, which is really unfortunate,” says the commission’s Michelle Fairbanks. Photo: Submitted
Two plaques stolen from Rossland heritage square

The plaques were located at Washington and Columbia by the Olaus statue

No matter your age, the city’s two skate park hosts Jaryd Justice-Moote (left) and Brenden Wright can help you roll into a new pastime this “Summer at the Skatepark.” Photo: City of Trail
Free coaching at the Trail Sk8Park begins next month

The city is rolling into a summer of inclusive recreation by, for… Continue reading

Pastor Tom Kline
‘Why I became a Christian’ with Pastor Tom Kline

That night, a peace came over my heart that has remained from that day to this, 36 years later.

Protestors blocking Columbia Avenue Saturday evening. Photo: Betsy Kline
Old growth protesters block Castlegar’s main street for 24 hours

Members of Extinction Rebellion stayed overnight in downtown Castlegar

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read