|B.C. Place workers on a one-day Jan. 28 strike.|
Trying times at B.C. Place Stadium.
And not only is a massive lawsuit inching its way toward a 100-day B.C. Supreme Court trial beginning Oct. 21.
But there is labour strife.
For the first time since February 2005, members of the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union local 1703 are on strike. Albeit, only for one day on Jan. 28.
Local 1703 chair Dave MacDonald was not available for an interview, according to spokeswoman Karen Tankard.
Tankard said the main issue is job security for the 38 full-timers and 460 event workers. (Food and beverage workers are represented by a separate BCGEU local).
“We’re out on strike for a fair contract, we have offered the employer informal mediation,” Tankard said. “We’re hoping to get back to the bargaining table as quickly as possible. Our members want to be inside, doing their jobs.
“There is work that has been going on inside B.C. Place by private contractors that we believe our members should be doing. That is our work.”
A strike was averted in fall 2011, when the stadium’s rocky reopening occurred. All events went ahead as scheduled, but with increasing participation by contractors, such as Genesis Security, Panther Constructors, Pace Group and Riggit Services. The stadium has also become top-heavy with management.
The one-day strike has minimal impact on B.C. Place operations. The Year of the Snake Chinese New Year Expo begins on Jan. 31, and move-in isn’t scheduled until the day before.
According to a statement released by the Pace Group, stadium general manager Howard Crosley said: “We are disappointed at this development in the bargaining process and remain committed to securiing a positive outcome in negotiations with the BCGEU. Our people are an important resource and we hope that ongoing discussions will allow us to reach a solution that meets the needs of both parties. We also have an ongoing commitment to our clients during this time and contingency plans are being developed to minimize disruption to scheduled events.”
BCGEU local 1703 has an arm-long list of grievances with stadium management on a variety of fronts. For example, workers were furious last October when management sank their boat cruise with only one day’s notice.
That week ended with a mysterious meeting among PavCo minister Rich Coleman, Telus CEO Darren Entwistle and Peter Brown, the BC Liberal Party bagman who quit the PavCo board of directors in February 2012 when the Liberals kiboshed Telus’s naming rights sponsorship of the stadium.
The Telus Park sign remains in a Pattison warehouse and talks are underway about resurrecting the deal. In August 2012, Telus and the Liberal government secretly came to a supply-only deal. The government, however, won’t tell us how much it paid Telus in compensation for the goods and services supplied.
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