By Adrian Soldera, PPWC Local 8 President
Twelve weeks on the picket line. After our talk finished with the mediator, a lot has happened since the beginning of December. On December 1, during our meeting with and a failed proposal by the mediator, the bargaining committee told the company, Lantic Inc., we wouldn’t accept a deal that maintained continuous operation, and we walked out of mediation.
On December 7, the bargaining group met and worked on a proposal for the company that didn’t contain continuous operation. We sent it to the company via email and immediately received a proposal from Lantic Inc. within a minute. The company called and said their proposal wasn’t a response. We reviewed their proposal and were planning on issuing a counterproposal, but wanted to hear what the company thought of ours first.
The next day, we received a phone call saying we could take their proposal as a response to ours because it addressed a few of our issues. We were then told a letter was going to be sent to the membership. Everyone received the proposal. We scrambled to find a venue to have a meeting with the membership and discuss it.
At the meeting, it was decided to have a show of hands regarding accepting continuous operation and the result was an overwhelming “no”. We did tell Lantic Inc. about the meeting and the results of the showing of hands, and then asked if they were willing to sit with a mediator or wanted to have a meeting.
They responded that because we weren’t willing to entertain a 24/7 work schedule, they were withdrawing their global proposal and pausing on scheduling any more bargaining or mediated sessions. There wouldn’t be any more discussions over the remainder of 2023.
Not everyone could attend that meeting, which is why we decided to hold an anonymous vote the next weekend. After eleven weeks, the vote came back 89.3% of membership deciding not to accept a deal that contained continuous operation. It was a profoundly strong statement, after all we have been through.
On December 18, we met as a committee and worked on a new proposal. A day after that, we sent a new proposal to the company, and again, it didn’t contain continuous operation.
On December 20, we received a response that because our proposal didn’t contain continuous 24/7 operation, Lantic Inc. will be taking a break from any negotiation until the new year. We are still working on some policies to escalate job action, and some of our members have been receiving their belongings from the property of Rogers, the subsidiary of Lantic Inc. After twelve weeks of strike action, there is still an amazing turnout every day.
We remain committed to providing the membership the best deal we can. We want to get back to the table to achieve that goal. We know this is tough and we are truly amazed at the strength and determination of our membership.
We cannot thank everyone enough for their support. What we have received from the public, other unions, and businesses close to the area has been overwhelming. We are deeply grateful for everyone’s generosity.
We would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a safe and happy holiday season.