With the start to highways talks just around the corner, leaders representing BCGEU highways maintenance members emerged from a special bargaining conference earlier in October unified and committed to achieving fair contract settlements.
After two days of productive discussions around issues and strategy, BCGEU’s highways bargaining coordinator Gary Bennett says the conference was important in terms of determining our approach to bargaining.
“There were some common threads around members’ priorities,” says Bennett. “These include a fair wage increase, enhanced protections for bargaining unit members, and measures to make up for lost ground.
“Based on the conference and outreach to rank and file highways workers, my sense is that members want to send a clear message that they are prepared to do what it takes to achieve a fair settlement,” Bennett says.
BCGEU has 26 different contracts with highways maintenance employers. A small number expired in September, while the remainder will do so between now and early 2007. “In terms of timing,” says Bennett, “our goal is to get to a number of bargaining tables for different service areas in November.”
Meanwhile, bargaining committee members have been distributing bargaining proposal forms to members since the beginning of September. Please return the forms as soon as possible so that union committees in each service area can determine local bargaining priorities.
The union is also putting in place a bargaining communications plan to make sure that members can stay up to date on developments at the table. There will be special bargaining alerts (like this issue of Table Talk) that will be faxed to workplaces and posted on www.bcgeu.ca, accompanied by shorter newsflashes sent by emails.
To ensure that the plan works, your local bargaining leaders are updating member contact information, including telephone numbers and email addresses. You can also update your own details on BCGEU’s website, http://www.bcgeu.ca/891.