July 2, 2013 Trail, B.C. West Kootenay Labour Council
United Steelworkers Locals 480 and 9705, along with CUPE, BCGEU Locals, the West Kootenay Labour Council and the public came out to support the members of BCGEU Local 309 in Trail that work at Trail F.A.I.R. and the W.I.N.S. Transition House at a bbq/rally held at the Family Statue Park across from the Trail Memorial Centre in Trail from 11 am to 2pm on July 2.
USW Local 480 & 9705 Presidents Armindo deMedeiros and Chuck Macklon
In late May, 2013 some members applied and received the right to hold a vote to decertify from the BCGEU over an internal dispute. Voting on the decertification began on June 18 and ends on July 11.The West Kootenay Labour Council, and union affiliates in Trail were present to support the BCGEU members, urging them to deal with their issues fairly, professionally and stay unionized.
Monica Find, BCGEU 309 Executive & Master of Ceremonies
Andrew Chernoff, West Kootenay Labour Council Executive member for Trail spoke on the need for unions to stand together and support union members in all worksites saying, “An injury to one is an injury to all”.
Chernoff encouraged BCGEU 309 members to stay unionized and work things out, stating that in any family there are always disputes and differences, but the best thing is to work things out, rather than lose the gains the members have achieved as a union, like a pension plan; job security; and wage increases, and the protection of the union.
Pam St. Thomas
Pam St. Thomas, BCGEU 1209 Local Chair, and member of the West Kootenay Labour Council from Nelson, spoke on the effects of union member loss in the BCGEU in the community of Nelson in the last few years, as much as 400 jobs and $19 million dollars lost to the community. She encouraged the members of BCGEU 309, 35-40 members, to remember the benefits of the union for themselves and what union jobs bring to the community and the services they provide to F.A.I.R. and the W.I.N.S. Transition house since 1998.
Sandy Terlecki, BCGEU 609 Local Chair, thanked the West Kootenay Labour Council, CUPE, United Steelworkers 480 and 9705, and the public for coming out for the bbq/rally and supporting her brothers and sisters in BCGEU 309.
Patsy Harmston, BCGEU 309 Local Chair, also thanked the WKLC, USW Locals 480 and 9705, CUPE members, and the public for their encouragement and support at such a difficult time. Harmston had special thanks for executive member Monica Find who stepped up to get union affiliate support from other unions and the public to assist BCGEU 309 in encouraging its members not to decertify from the union, and said the biggest loss for her would be in the area of equity along with the pension, the protection of the union, good wages and benefits.