Unionized Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) employees are scheduled to cast their ballots Monday in a final vote that will determine whether members support a three-month strike mandate.
The four-year collective agreement for Unifor Local 466 expired at the end of 2019. Bargaining has been underway for at least two months, according to a newsletter circulated by the union’s local chapter.
“The Union Executive is urging all members to show their support to the bargaining committee by voting 100 per cent in favour of a strike mandate,” read the newsletter.
A vote by secret ballot was held last Saturday in Pender Harbour, Sechelt and Gibsons. Prior to casting their ballots, the union’s bargaining committee outlined its rationale for the strike vote.
A second round of drop-in voting has been planned for Monday, Jan. 13 between noon and 6 p.m. at the Local 466 office in Sechelt.
Sechelt SCRD director Alton Toth said the decision to take the strike vote came “to much surprise” in his written summary of SCRD updates for the Jan. 15 Sechelt regular council meeting.
Should the vote be successful, and a strike called, the SCRD and union would need to negotiate which services are deemed essential and how many employees would work during job action or lockout.
A vote supporting a strike mandate gives the union permission to call a strike, though it does not necessitate job action. If the vote is successful, written notice must be given 72 hours prior to a walkout. The strike mandate lasts for 90 days.