98 per cent strike vote by Steelworkers at Shaw Cable in B.C.

Members without contract since March 23
|labour-reporter.com|Last Updated: 07/25/2018
Labour relations
Shaw management is demanding: elimination of job security; massive erosion of members' work; zero per cent annual wage increases; and forcing employees to pay for work devices, said USW. Google Street View

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1944 at Shaw Cable in Vancouver, Richmond, Surrey, and Langley have strongly voted in favour of strike action. This week, 85 per cent of the membership voted, giving a strike vote mandate over 98 per cent.

Despite many days at the bargaining table, as well as assistance from a federal conciliator, the members have been without a contract since March 23, 2018, said the union.

Shaw management is demanding: elimination of job security; massive erosion of members' work; zero per cent annual wage increases; and forcing employees to pay for work devices, said USW.

"Shaw says they want an organization that is agile and adaptable; we say this should not be at a cost to our members," said Lee Riggs, USW Local 1944 chief negotiator.

"What Shaw really intends to do is to undermine union workers' rights, and change the rules by making workers disposable while putting more financial pressure on their shoulders. We believe that it is possible for Shaw to be a strong player in the competitive market, and also provide a fair and respectful collective agreement that shows our members that the work they do is valued and protected."

Strike votes were held July 17, 18 and 19, with 357 members voting. Two certifications for Shaw Cablesystems G.P. are impacted by the strike vote. The Vancouver/Richmond certification received 99% support and the Surrey/Langley certification received 97% support for strike action, said USW.

"The main goal of the local is to negotiate a new collective agreement, not to go on strike," said Riggs. "There are many levers we can activate before going on strike. The bargaining committee has our members' backs. More than 10,000 members from USW Local 1944 have our backs. There are a million members from the United Steelworkers that have our backs. There is enough power in our numbers to allow us to do whatever it takes to negotiate a collective agreement that ensures these workers get a fair contract while protecting their jobs for years to come."

USW Local 1944 represents over 500 members at Shaw Cable in Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Overall, the local represents more than 10,000 workers in the telecommunications sector across Canada.

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