Union at Highland Valley Copper mine accuses management of "un-Canadian" action - InfoNews

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Union at Highland Valley Copper mine accuses management of "un-Canadian" action

FILE PHOTO: Highland Valley Copper mine
October 07, 2016 - 4:30 PM

KAMLOOPS - The union at Highland Valley Copper mine is accusing the mine’s owners of bullying workers and acting “un-Canadian”

United Steel Workers Local 7619 says in a media release workers are being “threatened with discipline” by the Teck Resource's management after using union book-off time to help at the Kamloops Food Bank.

The threat of disciple comes during union contract negotiations at the mine and local union president Kyle Wolff says the move is a tactic to break resolve.

"If Teck believes our members' resolve for a fair contract will be broken by their threats, they are out of touch with their workforce and out of touch with our community," Wolff says in the release.

Book-off hours are hours where the union covers the employees wages while the employee is doing something to do with the union. In this case, Teck Resources, which owns and runs the Highland Valley mine, would not have to pay for any wages associated with employees time at the Kamloops Food Bank.

The last contract ended Oct. 1 of this year, though it had a continuation clause, so work continues at the mine as long as both sides are negotiating.

Peter Martell, community affairs manager at the mine, says management can't comment on the issue but the company supports community work.

"I can’t comment on the specifics of the issue as it relates to ongoing labour negotiations,” he says in an email. “At Teck Highland Valley Copper we fully support our employees volunteering in the community."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brendan Kergin or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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