Burnaby, B.C. – The IAM welcomed 39 new members into the union after a representation vote went in favour of the union. “Spreading the word about how independent trade unions operate and represent their membership was the magic formula,” said Al Cyr, Business Representative for IAM District 250.
AK Draft & Seal workers in Burnaby, B.C., who were previously represented by the Christian Labour Association of Canada (CLAC), voted to switch to the IAM.
“Our task was to show them how representation by a union SHOULD be conducted, and that’s what we did,” said Cyr.
The workers at the plant contacted the IAM about 3 weeks ago because they were frustrated with the representation they were receiving from CLAC. Cyr then quickly assigned newly-hired Organiser Roland Sturt-Smith to the file.
“What a better way for the rookie to get into the swim of things – and he performed as expected,” said Cyr. Sturt-Smith stayed in contact with the main 3 workers who spearheaded the drive. He held numerous meetings, provided information and answered their questions and concerns. “Complaints about CLAC were that they seemed more interested in servicing the Company than representing the membership,” said Sturt-Smith. “Explaining how the IAM did things was the really easy part,” he said.
“At the Labour Board hearing yesterday, only the legal counsel for CLAC attended along with the employer. There were no servicing representatives. After the hearing they literally walked out hand in hand and totally ignored us,” added Cyr. “No wonder the workers from AK Draft Seal called us.”
Cyr pointed out that many issues raised from the discussions would have to be addressed as soon as possible. “This means we have to get information about our union to all the workers. Because the contract expires this December, we will serve notice to start collective bargaining, putting out proposals sheets and electing Bargaining Committee representatives,” he said. “From what the workers have told us, this has never happened in the past,” said Cyr.
The IAM is among the largest industrial trade unions in North America, representing more than 500,000 active and retired members, and administers more than 5,000 contracts in transportation, woodworking, aerospace, manufacturing, service, health services and public services workers.
For further information:
Al Cyr, Business Representative (604) 309-0443
Roland Sturt-Smith – (604) 513-3883
Frank Saptel (416) 386-1789