Today, Rogers Communications Inc. locked out nearly 300 workers at locations across Metro Vancouver after the United Steelworkers union (USW) Local 1944, Unit 60, issued a 72-hour strike notice to the company on Friday. The union intended to initiate a series of rotating strikes after a complete work stoppage starting today at noon, but instead, the unionized members will be hitting the streets holding “locked out” signs.
“We are extremely disappointed at the decision from Rogers management to lock out its workers. This is a shameful attack on our members and their families,” said Jayson Little, USW staff representative.
USW Local 1944 members work as technicians, building, maintaining and repairing internet, phone and television infrastructure and services for businesses and homes.
On September 22, USW members voted 99.6% in favour of going on strike, giving their bargaining committee the right to call for job action, up to and including a full-on strike. Last week the union asked workers to limit overtime and Rogers retaliated by using scab labour to fill overtime needs.
“Rogers may say this is in the best interest of their customers, but what’s really in everyone’s best interests is to reach a negotiated settlement by ending the lockout and getting back to the table. Locking out its workers is a poor way to re-introduce the company back into Western Canada. What they are doing won’t only impact our members, it will have damaging impacts in the communities Rogers services,” said Little.
The union started conciliation through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) on August 3, 2023. The two parties have been in negotiations since February and the workers have been working without a new contract since March 23, 2023.
“Our members have a proven track record of providing quality service to customers and they deserve fair treatment and job security in return,” said Scott Lunny, USW Director for Western Canada. “At a time when Rogers needs to consider the long-term well-being of its workers and the communities it serves, they are breaking trust by not upholding their agreement to the federal government that it must create 3,000 new jobs in Western Canada through the Rogers-Shaw merger,” said Lunny.
“We know the government didn’t agree to the contracting out of jobs through the merger and Rogers needs to do what’s right to protect and expand stable jobs, so let’s get back to the bargaining table and get contracting-out language off the table,” added Lunny.
On October 2, the parties entered a 21-day cooling-off period which ended on October 23. The primary issues for the union revolve around the contracting out of jurisdictional jobs.
The USW represents 225,000 members in nearly every economic sector across Canada and is the largest private-sector union in North America, with 850,000 members in Canada, the United States and the Caribbean.
Each year, thousands of workers choose to join the USW because of our strong track record in creating healthier, safer and more respectful workplaces and negotiating better working conditions and fairer compensation – including good wages, benefits and pensions.
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