Union, Highland Valley Copper mine reach tentative agreement

By on August 4, 2017
The three ore stockpile covers at Highland Valley Copper mine near Logan Lake. (Herald file photo).

After nearly a year, Teck Resources and the United Steelworkers (USW) have a tentative agreement in place for workers at the Highland Valley Copper mine near Logan Lake.

USW Local 7619 president Kyle Wolf said the five-year agreement protects all of the existing contract language from the previous agreement and won’t contain any of the major concessions the company had been calling for.

“It was an extremely long road,” Wolff told the Herald. “We had to push to the wall to get the company to drop the concessions off the table that were going to affect the long-term employment of our members.”

Highland Valley Copper spokesperson Peter Martell said the company is happy to have a deal in place.

“We’re pleased to have reached a tentative agreement,” said Martell.

In a bargaining update to members, Wolff stated the new agreement has improved health and safety language and improved insurance benefits.

“We have built new rules around contracting out [work] to build on and protect the language that already exists [in the contract],” he went on to state in the release.

The union’s bargaining committee is recommending the agreement, and a ratification vote will be held in Logan Lake on August 8th and 9th.

Workers at the mine have been without a new contract since September of 2016.

The new deal was reached yesterday (Aug. 3) after a week of bargaining talks, including a marathon bargaining session of more than 21 hours.

The two sides hadn’t met in months after talks broke down in January. The union eventually requested the company return the bargaining table by the end of June and the two sides resumed talks. Those mid-July negotiations quickly broke down, leading the union to hold a strike vote that returned a 99.8 per cent approval for job action.

The union and Teck resumed bargaining talks once more, leading to the deal.

“At the end of the day we achieved a deal that both parties are satisfied with,” said Wolff.

The union represents about 1,000 workers at the mine.

 

This story was corrected from an earlier version that incorrectly stated the ratification vote would be held August 15th and 16th. The correct dates are August 8th and 9th. The Herald regrets the error.

One Comment

  1. Jason Arnold

    August 4, 2017 at 11:46 pm

    Ratification Vote Meetings are August 8th and 9th, please correct that in your report, thanks ☀✊🏼✊🏼✊🏼☀ !!!…

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