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REPORTING · 1st August 2012
Walter McFarlane
On Thursday and Friday, July 27th and 28th, the CAW Union 2301 membership voted 94% in favour of accepting the contract negotiated by their bargaining team. There have been a number of positive statements from the community leaders of Kitimat and Terrace as well as the two sides at the negotiating table.

Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monaghan stated, “I’m very happy because I think the union people obviously were happy because it was a 94% endorsement. I think it also gives us a voice to the unions that are coming in here, it’s ok to come in here because we are all working together and I think it’s very good.”

“We believe we got a really good agreement under the circumstances. In fact, it would be a good agreement under normal circumstances, the members are very happy,” said CAW 2301 president, Rick Belmont.

Belmont indicated the biggest battle in the negotiating room concerned securing language in the contract for Job Security. He felt one of the outstanding achievements of the negotiations was getting temporary employees, “Temps” who were working in the plant and a part of the union, offered full time jobs after the ratification of the agreement.

He also explained how the job security which they were able to obtain; i.e. no lay offs during the life of the agreement, was spectacular. In addition Belmont stated no one is going to lose any money going into the new plant.

Two days before the Union voted on the settlement agreement Rio Tinto Alcan’s Public Relations spokesperson Colleen Nyce stated, “Rio Tinto Alcan is pleased to have reached a tentative labour agreement with CAW Local 2301. We feel that the agreement is good for both the employees and for BC Operations and we are optimistic that employees will ratify the agreement in their voting on Thursday and Friday.”

Terrace Mayor Dave Pernarowski stated “I was very pleased to hear that Rio Tinto Alcan and the Union had negotiated a tentative contract settlement. The offer from RTA to the Union employees is very generous. This quick contract settlement provides stability for the RTA modernization project and the employees of the Kitimat operation.”