Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The strike is on.

Members of CAW Local 599 begin passing out the picket signs at about 20 seconds after midnight, early Wednesday morning, upon getting confirmation that no new agreement was reached between the union and Xstrata Copper Canada. Despite reaching an impasse in talks on Monday, both sides worked with a conciliator all day Tuesday, but were not able to come to an agreement.
"There wasn’t one final thing." said bargaining committee chair Ben Lefebvre when he arrived at the picket line around 1:00 a.m. (see photo below, centre-right, wearing blue jacket).
"It’s wages, benefits and basically contract language – seniority rights, skilled trades issues. They didn’t want to come very close to what our membership needs.
It’s as simple as that." he said.
"They’re adamant," Lefebvre suggested of Xstrata's corporate position.
"They want to attack the union. That’s what they’re all about," he accused.
"We hung in there right to the bitter end. We were hoping they were going to change their position, but obviously here we are," he told fellow union members.
“Three out of four, gentlemen. Three strikes out of four contracts. A very reasonable company we’re working for here,” Lefebvre said with a hint of sarcasm.

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