Tuesday, July 13, 2010  
   Volume 80 - Issue 28 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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Quote of the Week
“I find this a little bit ridiculous. But thats the game we’re playing here.”
- Gordon Lundy, CAO  
- on the need to borrow   
$2.6 million   
Wages, benefits listed among main issues
 
The United Mine Workers of America Local Union 7292, representing employees at the Coal Mountain mine located just across the B.C. border from Crowsnest Pass, has voted in favour of strike action against their employer, Teck Coal.
Bob Burchell, the union's chief negotiator, says that employees at all Teck's other Elk Valley mines are paid more than those at Coal Mountain. Local 7292's contract with Teck Coal expired at the end of 2009, and the two sides have been negotiating throughout the six months since.
Burchell says that the union's main issues are wages, benefits, seniority, and job security. "The employees at Coal Mountain do the same work as employees at the other Teck mines," he says, "and they deserve the same benefits and respect from their employer."
Gord Nearing, President of Local 7292, says that essentially 100 percent of the members voted in favour of strike action. The vote took place on June 29 and 30.
"We've been trying to do something for the last six months," says Nearing. He says that they have made no progress on negotiations, and that they are hearing from their employer that they are content with what was in the previous contract. "Evidently, we're not," says Nearing. "We're definitely not."
 
Nearing says that on average, employees at the other Elk Valley mines make $2.80 per hour more than those at Coal Mountain, with some jobs seeing as much as a $4.00 per hour difference. He adds that benefits are also lower in many areas at Coal Mountain. "Pretty much everything in the contract, we're a little bit behind on," he says.
Nearing says that their negotiator will be speaking to the union's international president to get the final okay for strike action. After that, the union's negotiating committee will determine a date a strike would begin if a new contract is not signed. He estimates that a strike would likely take place sometime in early August.
Nic Milligan, Manager of Community and Governmental Affairs for Teck, says that Teck will try to reach the best agreement for all sides. "Teck continues to be committed to reaching an agreement," he says, "that provides stable employment for them and stable production for the company and for shareholders."
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   Volume 80 - Issue 28 Website:www.passherald.ca   email: passherald@shaw.ca   $1.00   
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