LOGAN LAKE, BC, July 14, 2017 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) union is questioning why Teck is courting a potential labour dispute at its Highland Valley Copper mine that would have a significant impact on the company's bottom line.
Members of USW Local 7619, who have been working without a collective agreement since last year, will attend strike vote meetings on Sunday, July 16, at the Logan Lake Curling Club. The meetings are in response to Teck's demands for concessions from the 1,050 workers, said Randy Gatzka, USW staff representative and lead negotiator.
"With prices of copper on the rise and the global demand for copper strong, stopping production at Highland Valley Copper will have an immediate impact on the company's bottom line," Gatzka said.
"Our union has tried to work with management to negotiate a fair deal for our members, with working families in mind. Teck shows no desire to have meaningful discussions and refuses to come to the table with anything but millions of dollars in concessions. For a company that is boasting about record profits to their shareholders, the workers are left wondering why they are not sharing in these unparalleled increases in profitability," he said.
"Teck has the ability to come to the table and negotiate a settlement. Our demands are simple, we want to maintain what we have and achieve reasonable increases on wages," said USW Local 7619 President Kyle Wolff.
"The problem from my point of view is a management team that is unpredictable and that is focused on stripping away rights that workers have built over decades of collective bargaining," Wolff said.
Teck is expected to announce another strong financial quarterly report on July 27. In the first quarter of 2017 Teck experienced substantially higher commodity prices, which had a significant positive impact on profits attributable to shareholders.
Adjusted profits attributable to shareholders rose from $0.03 per share in 2016 to $1.16 per share in early 2017. Based on continued high commodity prices, Teck – Canada's largest diversified mining company – is expected to announce more positive news for investors.
The United Steelworkers is one of the largest private-sector unions in Canada, representing workers in all economic sectors.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)
For further information: Randy Gatzka, USW staff representative, 604-328-7185, [email protected]; Brad West, USW Communications, 604-313-9185, [email protected]; Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, [email protected]