Teck Operations moving forward with layoffs

No layoffs at Local 480 so far, says union president

Cut backs are coming at Teck Trail Operations between now and next year, and up to 80 jobs will be gone.

There’s no official word on which departments have already been, or will be, affected.

But a local union president says one way or another, effects of a five per cent workforce reduction will trickle down to the steelworkers.

“Local 480 membership is at the lowest it’s ever been,” says Armindo deMedeiros, leader of the local USW (United Steelworkers Union). “In our opinion, in order to run the plants safely, we can’t see any layoffs from the trades and operations side.”

A possible consequence is the loss of even more steel worker positions once members retire.

There are approximately 35 members signed up for retirement in 2016, deMedeiros confirmed.

“Generally, there should be a few more that will decide to retire throughout the year, which should help with reduction numbers,” he added. “To date, no Local 480 members have been laid off and we anticipate a few of the positions left vacant by retiring members, to be filled with new hires.”

Special assignment workers, usually hired for a specific length of time of three or six months, can expect the usual course of action.

“When that length of time ends they are usually let go or rehired for another length of time,” deMedeiros reiterated. “But Local 480’s main concern at present time is how many retiring members will be replaced.”

Teck’s office and technical employees are represented by USW Local 9705. Local 9705 President Chuck Maklon says details have not been released to the union and he had no further comment.

“Teck is implementing measures company-wide to conserve capital and lower operating costs in response to persistent challenging market conditions,” says Catherine Adair, Teck Trail’s community relations leader. “As announced previously, there will be a five per cent reduction in Trail’s workforce between now and the end of 2016.”

Trail operations currently employ just under 1,500 employees, which translates to a reduction of between 70 and 80 positions.

“While every effort is being made to achieve these reductions through attrition there will be some layoffs,” Adair added.

“We continue to focus on opportunities to enhance efficiency and productivity.”