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

Strike Settlement Offer






Your negotiating team met with Hudbay and came to a strike settlement offer. The offer is far below our expectations and does not resolve any of our major concerns to our satisfaction. Your negotiating team is not recommending this offer but we must ascertain the direction our membership will take us moving forward. Our resolve is strong and we will not accept a sub standard offer.


We will be holding information meetings and vote at the following date and times


Snow Lake

Monday June 29

11:00 am

Senior Centre


Flin Flon

Monday June 29

4:00 pm

Steel Centre


We encourage all our members to attend and let their voice be heard.

Rec Club in Turmoil



The Mechanical and Construction Recreation Club was established in around the time that Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company first founded the Flin Flon ore deposit.

It is a legitimate club with an elected president, vice, secretary and treasurer. We have representatives in all our departments so we can keep a pulse of what is going on. We hold monthly meetings and record minutes to keep in touch.

The main reason this club was created was for retirement parties for HBM&S employees who bled red for it.

The only way an hourly employee would have a retirement party was if this rec club held one for him.

I guess up to 40 years service didn’t warrant one from HBM&S.

We would try our best to give him the right send off. We would rent a hall. Find a caterer for a wonderful supper. Have speeches where kind words, from dear colleagues and friends were shared. It was followed by a social and dance.

Many people don’t realize that in many cases we spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our family at home.

So making sure he knows he is appreciated and never will be forgotten is important to us.

Today the rec club has changed from those early days. We still hold retirement parties, but it has become so much more.

Long ago it was decided to hold many more events to help boost our workers morale. Events were created so that members could mingle with co-workers. We invited our retirees to participate and catch up with what is going on their lives since they left us.

We even allowed our supervisors, foremen, superintendents and managers to join to build a good rapport outside the workplace.

It is a good and healthy thing for everyone.

We hold golf tournaments, a curling bonspiel, Halloween, Christmas and a pool party for our kids, dart tournament, hunting and fishing knife draw, prizes for largest fish caught and biggest deer and moose horns shot, Annual meeting, good and welfare,  and a Christmas turkey draw.

Our operation costs and prizes for these events come from donations, event registration fees but mostly from our annual rec club dues fee.

 We charge each member an annual due fee of $36.

We only have around 150 members so we rely on this money to make our events a success.

For many years we have relied on pay roll deduction to collect this money for us.

Today this is not so.

Our new company Hudbay has told us that they cannot collect our dues off of payroll deduction anymore.

They told us with their new payroll system that it is too difficult to do this for us.

Without this deduction our rec club will collapse and no longer exist.

The workers and staff are not that important anymore.

What is puzzling is that when it was decided that Hudbay would not collect union dues from the IAM anymore, there was no problem in making the payroll adjustment.

It seems that nothing is too difficult when it comes to punishing us.

Our well being morale means nothing anymore.

Scabs Among Us?




As the IAM enters into its eighth week of the strike, one has to wonder how the mines continue to run and what kind of shape has it deteriorated into without the services of mechanics.

There is only one plausible answer….SCABS.

Hudbay wants us to believe that they are meeting or exceeding production budgets in our absence.

Sources from the inside tell us this is not so.

But the mines are still limping along because of Hudbay’s use of illegal scab labour.

They are illegal because it undermines the bargaining process. How can it be bargaining in good faith when you employ scab workers to do the work of the Union that you are supposed to be negotiating with?

This is now called Union busting and that is against the law.

The companies we believe that is supplying scab labour are:


These company’s maintain that they are sticking to audits and warranty work on their machinery.

Information we have received makes us believe that it is a lie.

Why would these companies pull out their local workers out and replace them with out of town workers if they weren’t breaking the rules?

They are doing our daily work. They are repairing the machinery in the mine to try keep it running.

They are stealing food from our family’s tables.

They are assisting Hudbay in starving out their own employees who are on strike for a better way of life.

Hudbay is forcing their own unionized employees to work alongside scab workers while their friends and family sit on the picket line.

Hudbay has no morales and does not care about the employees at work or on the picket line.

Hudbay doesn’t even care about the scab workers or the companies that supply them.

Once the strike is over, these companies will bring their local workers back.

They will expect our mechanics to work beside them.

Are we supposed to forget the pain this has caused us?

It doesn’t matter what we think.

All that matters to Hudbay is the bottom line.




The IAM will be hosting THE RUBBER BOOT CUP ROAD HOCKEY TOURNAMENT with a free hotdog BBQ and LIVE MUSIC.


It starts on Sunday June 28, 2015 at Noon at the IAM Strike Headquarters on Church Street.

Registration will begin at 11 AM to enter your road hockey team.

A minimum of 5 players for each team is required with an entry fee of $25 per a team.

It will be in a double knockout format, so each team is guaranteed a minimum of 2 games.

Goaltenders are optional, either 5 players or 4 players and a goaltender.

The first team to score 5 goals wins.

Entry fee cash will be used for the winning and runner up teams.


From 2pm – 4pm we will have the local band THE WHYTE performing a live show for the entire community. The IAM would like to thank THE WHYTE for donating their time and talent for our event.


So on Sunday we invite everyone from our community to enjoy some hotdogs, watch or participate in some road hockey and enjoy the music from one of our talented local bands.


Hope to see you there!!





It seems that this company does not care about the well being of their employees.

They do not care about the stress they are causing the employees that have signed this new contract and the IAM that remain out on strike.

They will not deal with the major issues the IAM have and refuse to offer a solution that is fair and what we deserve.

They have used unfair bargaining practices with all Unions right from the start.

Threats of lock outs and time dated contracts is nothing more than schoolyard bullying that we tell our children they must stand up to.

They have divided our Unions by offering each one crumbs more than the one before.

Now our Union brothers and sisters are forced to cross a picket line.

It’s a picket line that consists of their mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

They are also aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

This not only affects their lives at work but it’s brought home every day.

We have let them divide our Unions and now it is dividing our families and friends.

Hudbay now forces our Union brothers and sisters to work alongside scab labour.

Jobs that belong to the IAM.

The IAM are not only their Union brothers and sisters, it is their family and friends.

Does the anger and frustration matter?

Hudbay forces middle management to try and fulfill our duties in our absence.

They work countless hours to try keep the plant running.

Each day they work is another day we starve.

Does Hudbay not care about the hard feelings this is causing?

These people are our frontline supervision and foremen.

When this is finished we will all have to work together.

Do they not care about the strained relations?

Do they not understand the damage this is causing?

Or do they even care?

Does the stress you cause your employees matter?

Are breaking your employee’s and Union’s all that’s important?

Creating a workforce that no longer cares will be the result.

Crushed morale is all that will be left.

Our Holidays?



Many of our members have been contacting the Human Resources Department requesting that their holiday pay be paid out while we are out on strike.

While we are on strike we do not receive any pay cheques from Hudbay.

We do not receive Unemployment Insurance.

 For many of our members all they have to rely on is a weekly strike pay cheque from our international of $150.

You must picket on the strike line to be entitled to it.

We understand that we chose to go out on strike. We had no choice. We will not be treated as second class citizens.

It’s a sacrifice we chose to make a better life for us and our families.

We want a better life for our children who follow in our footsteps.

We will not allow corporate greed to thrive on the backs of the working man who are paid sub-standard wages.

But.. $150 a week isn’t enough to pay the bills.

It’s barely enough to survive.

Our members have reached out to HR to have their holiday pay paid out to them for some financial relief.

Holiday pay they have earned from last year’s work year.

We were told that we were only allowed to cash out a portion of what belongs to us.

Management says we must maintain 80 hours of holidays in their bank.


They have a policy stating that is how it must be.

Some of our members haven’t even acquired 80 hours of holiday time yet.

They aren’t entitled to any of it?

We have reached out to the labour board to resolve this injustice.

They tell us there is nothing that can be done.

How can this be right?

This is our holiday pay that we have earned working for this company, helping them earn billions of dollars of profit.

Their employees and their families who now suffer do not matter.

This is another corporate bullying tactic to starve us and to make us submit.

Hudbay…when are you going to wake up?

Your tactics only make us stronger.

Our resolve will never waver.

We will never give up this fight until we get what is right and what we deserve.

We will always stay strong.

Week 7 Update



As the IAM enters into its seventh week of the strike we want to thank our members on their continued strength and resolve through this difficult process. The only way to get our issues resolved is to continue this fight. This is the most important battle of our working lives as it will dictate the way Hudbay treats its employees for the years to come. Hudbay will respect us.

The results of the ratification vote are in from the trades association:

Carpenters 85%

Boilermakers 66%

Electricians 53%

We can say that we are disappointed with the results but will respect the decision that their memberships have chosen. It’s unfortunate that without a deadline or any kind of threatening repercussions, they did not send their bargaining committees back to the table.

It is unfair that the Steelworkers received an average wage increase of 14.5% while the IAM were offered 10.9%.

We all work for the same company.

It seems that the contingency plan has a bottomless bank account. The price tag that Hudbay has spent is now in the millions of dollars. We cannot understand why this company is willing to waste this massive amount of shareholders money to teach us a lesson. By our calculations they have spent more money to fight us than it would have cost them to pay its employees a fair wage for the entire three year agreement.

We know the plant is running nowhere near full production, no matter what Hudbay wants us to believe.

The mines are not producing the amount of ore needed to feed the plant to run at capacity.

As all Flin Flon residents know, we feel the blast under our feet every time they occur.

When was the last time there was a consistent schedule?

They are still relying on a dwindling stockpile to keep the plant running in this idle mode but it will not last much longer.

How much longer can their staff tradesmen keep working to try and keep this plant running till they burn out and finally collapse?

They cannot replace our 180 members that worked hard every day to keep it running.

It will all collapse.

How much bleeding will they allow to happen before they let us help bandage the wound.

This strike is destroying our relations.

It must be fixed before the damaged relations become too great.

We need to remember that one day we will once again have to work together.

We need to negotiate a fair contract for us all and get back to work so we all can once again make money.


IAM Update Meeting





The IAM bargaining committee will be holding a general meeting to update our membership and to answer any questions or concerns to the best of our ability.

It will be held on Friday June 12 at 3pm at the Steel Centre.

We urge all members to please make every effort to attend.