Monday June 18th was a busy day at the Bootjack FSR picket line. Our membership turned out in force to welcome President of the BC Federation of Labour (the Fed), Irene Lanzinger. Although it was not planned, it turned out the Sands Bulk Fuel truck arrived just before Irene’s presentation. Due to the very large number of people who were onsite, an escort from the minesite was requested (for safety reasons).
Ms.Lanzinger delivered a very inspiring message to a very enthusiastic crowd, despite the rumbling of the fuel truck’s engine. She commended us for our dedication to protecting our rights as well as our commitment to showing solidarity. She also spoke of the Fed’s pledge to support our cause, on behalf of the 500,000 unionized workers across BC.
USW Local 1-2017 President Brian O'Rourke then spoke to the membership about how solidarity would win the day. His message: "One Day Longer!" ie. The only way to demonstrate to the company that we would not be forced into an agreement would be to outlast the company.
At this point the fuel truck escort arrived and, to our surprise, the escort turned out to be General Manager, Dale Reimer. We believe that the size of the crowd and the air of unrest caught him off guard a bit. He declined an invitation to speak at the microphone, but did proceed to have a conversation with USW 1-2017 Business Agent Dan Will and some of your bargaining committee members.
Since everybody present wanted to hear what was being said, quite a large group soon gathered around to listen. Mr. Reimer said that the company had (twice) stated their willingness to meet to negotiate. Mr. Will reminded him that the company had sent a message to the mediator that the scheduled bargaining meetings should be cancelled because the company’s last, “comprehensive proposal” was their “final offer”. Dan reiterated that we remain available to meet.
At that point Mr. Reimer said the company would check schedules with the mediator and his bargaining team to arrange discussion. This was met with enthusiasm from the membership. Mr. Reimer stated that there was interest in meeting as soon as was possible. Should a meeting be scheduled, we will be sure to update you.
A huge thank you to Irene Lanzinger for flying in from Vancouver to meet with our membership! We would also like to thank the incredible support we received from USW Executive representatives from our Local: Brian O'Rourke, Don Iwaskow, Brad Mores, and Terry Tate. Big thanks also to Harvey Arcand and Wade Fisher (former executive members) for coming to support us. These guys are a big part of why we have what we have today.
Most of all, we want to thank our members who remain committed and united. Solidarity clearly works!
Your Bargaining Committee: