February 6, 2020 - Doug McKay, Business Manager/Financial Secretary of Local 258 IBEW reports the Local has received an astounding amount of feedback from members who work at BC Hydro since the tentative agreement was rejected in a mail ballot vote counted last week.
“We have heard directly from an overwhelming number of members who have spoken to us by way of direct communication, emails, letters and/or phone calls, sharing their serious concerns and opinions about adjustments to working hours that were included in the tentative agreement, specifically the modified work week and early start times,” says McKay.
McKay describes that during the many months of bargaining, the Union consistently rejected each attempt by this employer to accept their proposal to include a 4-day work week of 10-hour days, commonly referred to as “4-10s”, in a new agreement. In the last week of negotiations in December 2019, as terms of a new agreement were being finalized, the employer then indicated they would not agree to a new contract – including the government’s mandated limit restricting wage raises to no more than 2% in each year of a 3-year agreement and the employer’s offer to make the agreement retroactive to April 1, 2019 – without the inclusion of the 4-10s. The Union’s bargaining committee deliberated and came back to the table with a counter-proposal, the “Modified Work Week”, that would give members more ability in their workplaces to accept or reject alterations to their work hours. When presented to the employer, they agreed and a tentative agreement was reached.
Since then, McKay reports that both he and the Union’s Assistant Business Managers have heard loud and clear from members that the Modified Work Week, and alterations to start times, are unacceptable working conditions and this has raised many serious and distracting concerns in their workplaces.
After listening to members, McKay indicates, “The members have voted and the tentative agreement was rejected. This means that all items that were in the tentative agreement are now off the table. In considering the best interests of our members working at BC Hydro and in my role as Business Manager, I have now met with the employer and have secured an agreement in principle to roll-over the previous contract that expired in March 2019 with the following revisions: a three-year agreement with wage raises of 2% in each year, as per the government’s mandate for public sector workers. I have also secured the retroactive payment to April 1, 2019, which was in doubt. We will return to the bargaining table in a little over two years when this contract expires in 2022. In the meantime, your Union will continue to seek improvements to the collective agreement in moving forward with this employer.
“Members will receive their retroactive wages as soon as they can be processed by this employer and will also gain a 2% wage increase starting April 1, 2020,” says McKay.
Local 258 IBEW members working at BC Hydro can contact their ABMs or McKay if they have further questions, and can phone the Local 258 IBEW office directly at 604-520-3305 or toll-free at 1-877-520-3305.
McKay thanks the members who work at BC Hydro for their participation, patience and involvement.