#27Local leaders, local actions responsible for high strike vote turnouts

Bargaining bulletin

Members want a contract by month’s end, unions ready to go 24/7 to get it

Strike votes are heading into the home stretch today as HEU members are turning out in record numbers across the province to cast their ballots.

“Reports are coming in from all over B.C. that people are turning up for the strike vote informed about bargaining and ready to stand by the unions’ bargaining committee with a powerful strike mandate,” says HEU secretary-business manager Chris Allnutt. “Clearly our members understand that talks are in a critical phase. They want an agreement before the end of the month.”

Since voting began March 8, local activists have backed up the strike vote call with information blitzes and rallies in their workplaces and in their communities, keeping members and the public updated on negotiations.

“Local leaders have gone all out to produce a high voter turnout, and they’re to be congratulated,” says Allnutt. “They’ve built strong strike votes with many facilities and community work sites reporting larger turnouts than ever.”

Vote results will be announced Monday, March 19.

Back at the table, talks on community and facilities issues are expected to resume tomorrow or Saturday. The parties could go through the weekend in a concerted effort to reach a settlement before current contracts expire March 31.

While negotiations have continued throughout March, Allnutt says that the unions have been prepared to bargain around the clock since the strike vote was called March 2, and that offer still stands.

“Our goal is the same now as it was when we started 10 weeks ago — a new contract by the end of the month.”