Victoria Shipyards Bargaining Update #4

March 10, 2022

To: MoveUP Members at Victoria Shipyards

Many of you have received the memo sent out on behalf of Joe O’Rourke yesterday regarding your employer’s view of where the parties are at with bargaining.

MoveUP and the other unions covered under the collective agreement are disappointed with your employer’s decision to take bargaining “to the shop floor”.  The parties have met 28 times, including multiple times with an appointed mediator from the Labour Relations Board (LRB).

Your employer has provided information to you about what they’ve done to try to get a collective agreement. The memo attempts to try to inform you of major issues that the parties disagree on.

The hours of work for MoveUP members is contained in Letter of Understanding (LOU) 7, which is the section of the agreement specific to MoveUP members. Your employer’s proposal for the new shifts does not apply to MoveUP members.

It is our understanding that the intention of the new break schedule is to reduce down-time in the yard by reducing how many times those employees must start and stop working. By reducing the breaks to one paid break time, plus the regular unpaid lunch, it will reduce the stopping and starting of those workers and tools to twice a day, rather than three times.

Your employer also felt it appropriate to address the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for Victoria, indicating that it’s increased from 11.2% from 2012 to 2020, yet your wages increased a total of 17.45% in the past eight years. Don’t fall for this comparison. CPI is essentially the baseline of how much inflation has increased. What this tells us is that your employer has provided you with a whole 6.25% in the past eight years above what inflation has increased. That’s less than .80% per year more than what inflation was. How do you get ahead? We know they can do better. Your employer has also failed to mention that the January 2021 to January 2022 CPI for Victoria is estimated at a 4.3% increase, yet their wage proposal for 2021 is 2.0%. Fore more information on CPI, click here. When the unions asked if they were claiming an inability to pay, which would then entitle the unions to reports on the financial health of the company, they responded with a resounding no. What this indicates is that they don’t want us having access to their financials which will likely confirm that they can afford to provide a more reasonable wage increase to the employees who have kept the company going, even through a pandemic.

The colourful chart that the employer included related to heath & welfare costs is a bargaining tactic. These are costs that company’s typically would absorb as the cost of doing business and would  include in their bid.

What we implore you to understand is that while most of those outstanding major issues do not directly impact MoveUP members, it is our obligation to stand with the members of every union at Victoria Shipyards and show support. There may come a time when LOU 7 of the agreement has entitlement reductions, called concessions, proposed by your employer.

Lastly, your employer presented their comprehensive package and titled it “Best and Final Offer” yet they were adamant that they were not asking the LRB to invoke section 78 of the Labour Relations Code and conduct a final offer vote of the membership. If these outstanding items were an improvement that they felt their employees wanted, a final offer vote would be a way to show that.

Simply put, the unions are not in agreement with the last comprehensive package that your employer provided. There have been many ups and downs with this round of bargaining and we still do not feel that this offer is sufficient for the members at Victoria Shipyards.

We will keep you updated on bargaining as things progress.

In solidarity,

Yudon Garie, Union Representative

File Number:
Union Label: YG:sm-USW2009


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