October 22, 2008 MEDIA RELEASE For Immediate Release
Unionized Commissionaires at Seal Cove Coast Guard Base vote strongly to strike if necessary, file Employment Standards complaints over unfair treatment by Commissionaires BC
Prince Rupert – Unionized Commissionaires working at the Seal Cove Coast Guard Base have voted strongly to take a strike if necessary to win a first contract and have also filed an Employment Standards complaint against their employer – the Commissionaires BC – over unfair treatment.
The Commissionaires, members of the Public Service Alliance of Canada, were certified in early 2008 and negotiations to achieve a first collective agreement have stalled, says PSAC BC representative Dave Thompson.
As a result the six Commissionaires at Seal Cove, who do security work, staff a guard house and carry out security patrols of the premises, voted 83.33% in favour of strike if necessary, says Thompson. The union intends to file a request for a provincial mediator in the dispute, he said, because Commissionaires BC has not been in contact with the union about bargaining since August.
And their union is also helping file provincial Employment Standards complaints after Commissionaires BC called the members to a meeting and told them to personally pay for individual security certificates worth $120 or face being unable to work, Thompson said.
“Commissionaires BC can’t call members to a work-related meeting and then refuse to pay them for their time,” Thompson said.“Nor is it appropriate to ask these members to pay for the security certificate when the employer said in negotiations that it would pay the fee.”
“Lastly, telling members who are trying to negotiate a collective agreement they may lose their work is threatening behavior and may constitute an unfair labour practice,” Thompson added.