First contract for Compass VIHA members now in arbitrator’s hands

Bargaining bulletin

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More than 700 HEU members working for Compass Group on Vancouver Island are awaiting the final outcome of a Labour Relations Board mediation/arbitration process that will establish the terms of their first collective agreement.

That decision is now in the hands of LRB-appointed arbitrator Stan Lanyon who facilitated mediated contract talks between HEU and Compass on March 13 and 14 and then conducted an arbitration hearing on March 16.

“During the two days of mediation we made limited headway on a number of items,” reports bargaining spokesperson Heather Compton. “Several outstanding issues, however, including wages, had to be referred to the March 16 arbitration hearing.”

Compton says the arbitrator’s decision, which may take a few weeks, will constitute the bargaining unit’s first collective agreement.

“This is truly the end of a long, long road,” says Compton. “On behalf of the bargaining committee I want to thank members for their incredible solidarity and support throughout this very difficult round of negotiations.”

Bargaining began almost a year ago, in April 2006. In October, members gave their bargaining committee a 96 per cent strike mandate. And in December, HEU applied for mediation/arbitration under Section 55 of the B.C. Labour Code.

Compton says the union will hold member meetings to discuss the terms of the new collective agreement as soon as HEU receives the arbitrator’s decision.