Federal Labour Board Hearing Update

 

 

The IAM along with our legal counsel, Ginnell, Bauman & Watt, Hudbay and the Federal Labour Board met this afternoon and participated in a conference call today at 11:00 am.

 

Our complaint against Hudbay consists of unfair bargaining and the illegal use of replacement workers.

 

The particulars from the call were future scheduling of further meetings, location of further meetings, number of witnesses that will be relied on by each party, contractors that are currently on site, clarification of several items from our original complaint, 40 outstanding contracting out grievances awaiting arbitration, and the broken grievance procedure.

 

The conference call ended with the board advising the parties that they will make a decision next week if a hearing is necessary or they may make a ruling based on the written submissions that have been previously submitted

Union Busting

 

 

It is now crystal clear that Hudbay’s priority is not reaching a collective agreement with the IAM. Their priority has been to break the solidarity of all Hudbay Unions with the use of threats and intimidation to impose their will upon them.

Hudbay hired a labour consultant to help formulate a strategy in the bargaining process.

In order for the bargaining process to be successful there must be dialogue at the table to be able to resolve any issues.

The people with the ability to make decisions must also be at the table for it to be successful.

This has never happened.

Hudbay never brought a negotiating team with any ability to make decisions.

Their strategy was to vacate the bargaining table to confer with the powers with ability to make descions and return with answers.

The answer was always the same to any of our proposals. It was always NO. No dialogue to try and resolve our issues, just simply NO.

Hudbay’s agenda has always been to impose their will upon all the Unions and the only satisfactory resolution is to accept what they give us.

It is one sided negotiations.

Hudbay has threatened it employees the closure of the plant in order to bully and impose their will.

This is simply Union busting.

A Union is only as strong as the solidarity of its members focused on what is fair and what is reasonable.

They are using fear to break the solidarity of our Unions, either agree to their terms or you will no longer have a job.

The tactic they are using with the IAM on strike is to try and starve them into submission.

This is the new blueprint big corporations are now employing against all Unions.

These corporations have all levels of government in their back pocket who together are removing labour laws reducing the power Unions have in their ability to fight for what is fair.

All Unions must maintain the solidarity among their members in the wake of the threat of job loss.

We must remain focused on the big picture when these companies starve their Unions to force them to submit.

We must overcome fear.

We must sacrifice.

We will feel pain.

If we allow these tactics to break us they will always win.

If these tactics are successful, it will be the blueprint of how we will be treated for the rest of working lives.

Production Targets???

Rob Winton, Vice President Manitoba Business Unit, has gone on record to state that Hudbay Manitoba is at, or exceeding, production targets in the absence of striking members of the IAM Union. These members consist of Heavy Duty and Industrial Mechanics, Pipefitters, Machinists, Tire Techs and Oilers.

What production targets is he referring to?

Reliable sources from inside the operation, including members of other unions and staff, have told IAM that the plant is currently not running anywhere near full production.

These sources have told us that the zinc cell house is not operating at full production. At full production, the cell house strips zinc cathodes on a daily basis. We have been told that they are now stripping zinc cathodes only once every 3-4 days. Our math indicates that production is down by almost 75%.

The Flin Flon Mill is also not operating at full production. The Crusher, which is a unit in the Mill, has been down for stretches of up to 5 days in a row. This means that no ore has been crushed to be sent to the Mill to be processed. Sources tell us that the reason behind this significant amount of idle time is that there is no ore available.

We have also received reports that 777 Mine is having significant issues in the continued maintenance of its mining equipment. To be exact, there have been periods in the mine where there is no mining equipment available to Hudbay Miners because of breakdowns. In many instances only 5-10 pieces of equipment are available – and this from a very large fleet of equipment. On the 777 Mine Shift Boss Daily Reports, the status of up to 37 pieces of mining equipment are reported to management as being in need of repair.

When 777 Mine is at full production, in excess of 200 skips of ore are being brought to the surface to be processed each shift. Sources tell us that right now between 10-50 skips a shift is the new normal.

Flin Flon residents are used to feeling two blasts per day from 777 Mine – when was the last time you felt a consistent blasting schedule under your feet?

Whether management wants to admit it or not, the Plant and Mines at Hudbay in northern Manitoba are losing millions of dollars a day in lost production.

IAM calculates Hudbay is spending well over a million dollars a month on a contingency plan. Does this make good business sense to anyone?

What are the production goals currently being set by Hudbay management?

How much shareholder money is Hudbay willing to lose to break the IAM?

Do the shareholders even know the real truth of what is really going on in northern Manitoba?

The only logical solution is to negotiate a fair contract with the IAM to stop the bleeding.

But it seems with the current Hudbay management in northern Manitoba, logic doesn’t exist!

David vs. Goliath

 

Everyone is likely aware of the legendary biblical tale of David vs. Goliath. Here is a condensed version.

The Philistine army had gathered for war against Israel. The two armies faced each other, camped for battle on opposite sides of a steep valley. Goliath, a Philistine giant who measured over nine feet tall and wore full armor, came out each day for forty days, mocking and challenging the Israelites to fight. Saul, the King of Israel, and the whole army were terrified of Goliath.

One day David was sent to the battle lines by his father to bring back news of his brothers.

While there, David heard Goliath shouting his daily defiance and he saw the great fear it stirred within the men of Israel. So David volunteered to fight Goliath. Carrying only his shepherd’s staff, sling, and a pouch full of stones, David approached Goliath. The giant cursed at him, hurling threats and insults. As Goliath moved in for the kill, David reached into his bag and slung one of his stones at Goliath’s head. Finding a hole on the armor, the stone sank into the giant’s forehead and he fell face down on the ground.

There are many parallels between this story and big corporations and the Unions that must scratch, scrape and claw to receive what is just and fair. This definitely rings true with the Hudbay operations in northern Manitoba.

Hudbay has always dictated to our communities from a position of power and exploited the economic monopoly it holds over our communities. It has repeatedly used the threat of closure as a bargaining tactic. It has unlimited resources for the “contingency plan” (estimated to be over a $1.5M per month), a negotiations “expert”, and lawyers to argue against the rights of its workers. It has the ability to sway the Manitoba government to make an exception for buses supplied by a Saskatchewan company when a local bus company was available to transport workers. It has the ability to pressure workers and contractors into taking on the duties of IAM Members in order to prolong this strike.

The IAM has 180 men and women who believe that RIGHT is greater than might and that they deserve to be bargained with in good faith. IAM will continue to stand up to the Goliath that is Hudbay until our concerns regarding the grievance procedure, contracting out, and a competitive wage rate are addressed.

False Impressions

Hudbay’s most overused bargaining tactic has been to threaten closure. Our grandparents tell us that this tactic has been used, very successfully, since at least the 1970’s.

Could they now be using the threat of closure with non-striking staff and hourly employees to coerce them into performing the duties of striking IAM workers? Many employees are working day and night, and have had summer vacations cancelled, so that they are available to perform not just their normal duties, but the duties of striking workers as well.

The Canada Labour Code, Section 94 (2.1) “Prohibition related to replacement workers” states:

“No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall use, for the demonstrated purpose of undermining a trade union’s representational capacity rather than the pursuit of legitimate bargaining objectives, the services of a person who was not an employee in the bargaining unit on the date on which notice to bargain collectively was given and was hired or ASSIGNED after that date to perform all or part of the duties of an employee in the bargaining unit on strike or locked out.”

The employees that are currently PERFORMING THE DUTIES OF THE STRIKING WORKERS were actually ASSIGNED to do so by Hudbay. This means that staff and hourly employees assigned to do the work of striking IAM workers are defined as replacement workers in the Canada Labour Code.

The Canada Labour Code, Section 94 (3) (c) goes on to states:

“No employer or person acting on behalf of an employer shall suspend, discharge or impose any financial or other penalty on an employee, or take any other disciplinary action against an employee, by reason of their refusal to perform all or some of the duties and responsibilities of another employee who is participating in a strike or subject to a lockout that is not prohibited by this Part.”

This means that all Hudbay non-striking employees have the right of refusal to perform all or some of the duties that would normally be done by a striking IAM worker.

Employees currently performing the duties of the striking IAM workers may not be aware of their status as replacement workers or that they have the right to refuse to do work normally done by an IAM worker.

You are PROTECTED BY THE CANADA LABOR CODE – you have a CHOICE.

Collective Bargaining?

The collective bargaining process should be a collaborative approach to problem solving in the workplace.  This means that both parties at the bargaining table must be willing to hear the problems of the other side to ensure that a mutual understanding of the problems are developed.  Communication and understanding is essential to reaching real solutions to workplace issues.

Imagine that you go into a dealership to buy a new truck.  When you get there, a salesperson comes out to negotiate the purchase with you.

You start by saying that you want to buy a new truck with satellite radio because of remote travel, a navigation system for all travel, and 4 wheel drive for fishing trips.  The salesperson goes to ask the sales manager if there is a truck available that meets your needs.  The salesperson comes back and tells you that you don’t need satellite radio because all vehicles have AM/FM radios.  He goes on to say that you don’t need a navigation system because there are only two or three roads in and out of northern Manitoba/Saskatchewan.  He tells you that those are unreasonable “demands”.  He refuses to tell you if there is a 4 wheel drive truck available and asks that you come back in 2 months to discuss a sale.

You go back in 2 months and the salesperson tells you that they are satisfied with their truck inventory but still won’t tell you if there is a truck that meets your needs.  He then asks you to come back a month later.

Again you go back, but this time the salesperson tells you that the perfect truck is available for you.  It doesn’t have satellite radio or a navigation system but you had already agreed at the first meeting that those were unreasonable “demands”.  Also, it’s a 2 wheel drive truck but they have sold 6 of them already this week and all their customers are satisfied so you should buy one as well.

Would you buy a vehicle from this dealership or would you find another dealership that was willing to listen to you?  Negotiation, whether for personal items or for a collective bargaining agreement, requires communication.

IAM’s Goals in Negotiations

From the very beginning of this negotiation process, IAMAW1848 (IAM) has been very clear about our goals:

  • To improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the grievance procedure,
  • To address our issues regarding contracting out of IAM jobs, and
  • A wage rate that is competitive in the existing labour market.

Fixing the current grievance procedure would be cost neutral for Hudbay. In fact, a timely and effective grievance procedure would have many benefits, including improved employee morale and increased productivity.

Addressing contracting out issues would be a cost saving for Hudbay, as no one disagrees that contractors cost substantially more than paying your own employees.

Offering a competitive wage rate would support Hudbay’s efforts to recruit and retain qualified tradespeople, which has been difficult in the past few years. When IAM went on strike, Hudbay had 30 vacant trades’ positions, which are normally filled by IAM members, that couldn’t be fill.

Employee turnover is expensive to industry in terms of orientation and training, all of IAM’s proposals were developed to attract and retain the best possible workforce.

IAM’s membership gave us a clear mandate to continue to pursue these goals at the bargaining table, which is what we are prepared to do. Hopefully, Hudbay agrees that their mandate should be expanded to deal with some or all of the above issues.

Strike settlement offer vote results

 

 

 

The results of the vote on the strike settlement offer are in:

 

77% rejection of the offer

85% member turnout

 

After almost 9 weeks on the strike line our members have spoken.

We want to thank our membership for their strong voice and the direction they have directed the IAM executive in moving forward.

We remain strong and steadfast.

 

In solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee

Why is IAM&AW 1848 Taking Job Action?

FLIN FLON – JUNE 29, 2015

As the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers  Local 1848 begin week nine of job action while other unions have voted to accept collective agreements, some people are wondering what is keeping IAM on the picket line.

The main issues IAM had been hoping to resolve though negotiations were improving the grievance procedure, concerns around contracting out IAM member’s work, and bringing rates of pay up to industry standards.

  • Grievances:  IAM identifies the grievance procedure as their biggest concern. Union member’s can file grievances when they believe articles within the collective agreement have been breached. This is how a union fights for fairness. IAM has a range of outstanding grievances regarding days off, overtime and stat pay, call outs, transfers, contracting out, and wrongful termination. They report that the current grievance procedure is taking 1-2 years to get a grievance to arbitration.
  • Quote from Rene Beauchamp: “During negotiations, IAM offered up several proposals to shorten the time taken to clear grievances including proposals to streamline the process, having a regular meeting set up with an arbitrator every six months, and we even offered to sit down with the arbitrator for two weeks to help clear out the backlog. Unfortunately, every IAM proposal was turned down and Hudbay made no counter proposals”.
  • Contracting Out: Contracting out is another major concern. Hudbay has previously stated that they contract services because of recruitment issues. However, contractors ARE able to successfully recruit and IAM believes that these contracted workers create division in the workforce as they are paid at higher rates and can be subject to different rules. They also don’t contribute to the community as many just travel to northern Manitoba for work.
  • Quote from Rene Beauchamp: “IAM has around 60 outstanding grievances regarding contracting out services. To repair this problem, we proposed developing a consultation process with the union through the already established monthly contracting out meetings. Again, this proposal was turned down by Hudbay and no counter proposals were offered”
  • Rates of Pay: Trades at Hudbay can expect to be paid at least $6/hour less than comparable companies. These ‘comparable companies’ are the same ones Hudbay looked to when they determined industry standard wages for their staff positions.
  • Quote from Blair Sapergia: The proposed increase of $4 per hour over three years will not even bring us up to industry standards as they stand today. When IAM went on strike, Hudbay had 30 vacant trades’ positions that are normally filled by IAM members. Could Hudbay successfully recruit qualified tradespeople if they were willing to pay the industry standard wage?
  • Quote from Blair Sapergia: We entered into this process with clear and legitimate issues, ready to negotiate a deal. However, based on what we experienced throughout this process, we now believe that Hudbay never had any intention of bargaining in good faith.

June 28 Bargaining Update

 

Rob Winton, Vice President, Manitoba Unit has gone on record to state Hudbay’s version of what transpired in the latest round of bargaining.  Mr. Winton should come and sit at the table and hear the information first hand so he can make informed decisions based on the facts, not on second hand information.

He states on April 30, that Hudbay presented the IAM with a formal offer in front of the conciliator.

IAM met with Hudbay staff on April 30 to discuss the continuation of benefits during a strike, as IAM had given strike notice to Hudbay earlier that week. At this meeting, Hudbay’s HR Manager put a second final offer on the table but did not introduce the offer or initiate any discussion of it.  The only discussion that took place in that meeting was the continuation of benefits.  After the Hudbay staff left, we read the offer, and to our dismay, we found it contained proposals that had never been discussed since bargaining began in early November.

Since there was no discussion of this new offer and the new proposals in it, or even a statement that it was a new final offer, IAM executive did not take it back for a vote. However, IAM Members were made aware of the document.

On June 24, the IAM negotiating team did meet with Hudbay’s team with the assistance of a senior conciliation officer. We had an agreement in principle on some issues. Hudbay was going to prepare these documents for the IAM’s review. When the IAM International Rep went to pick up these documents he once again found new proposals that had not been discussed in the conciliation meeting. We did not receive these documents until the senior conciliator had already departed on the evening plane. Our Rep stated that these new proposals must be removed in order for any more discussion to take place on the document. He was told no. We never shook hands. We thought the deal was dead.

In the morning June 25, we were able to contact the senior conciliation officer and inform him of the new items that Hudbay had inserted in the document. In the early afternoon, Hudbay’s HR manager reached out to our IAM rep to facilitate a meeting between the two. At this meeting, a discussion took place about what it would take to get a recommendation from the IAM negotiating team. Hudbay showed no interest in getting a recommendation. The HR manager and the IAM Rep discussed the removal of the new proposals from the document.

At 4 pm that day, the IAM negotiating team met with Hudbay. This was the first time that the IAM had laid eyes on the new strike settlement offer. Together, we combed through the document and agreed to some changes. Hudbay also gave the IAM a return to work agreement which was the first time we had seen this document as well. We reviewed it; we discussed it, and agreed to some changes. This was the first time that we had signed off on anything during this entire bargaining process. We did shake their hand.

During these meetings, there was never any discussion on a recommendation from the IAM negotiating team.

If Mr. Winton wants to speak of honor and keeping your word…

 

In solidarity,

Your Negotiating Committee