It has been a busy day today at the Union office, as we try to answer Member and Steering committee calls respecting picketing and bargaining issues. Picket lines are now up at all Finning Branches, and we thank our members for those lines, and for asking those crossing to not do business with Finning.
IAMAW Picket lines also showed up briefly at DiPerk Canada – a Finning subsidiary, but subsequently left. Info on Diperk: In January of 2004 Finning International added engines manufactured by Caterpillar subsidiary ‘Perkins Engines Company Limited’ to its product line in Western Canada through the creation of DiPERK. Our long experience with Perkins engines has its roots in other territories. Finning International is known to be the largest distributor of Caterpillar equipment in the world, and the sole distributor for Perkins in Chile, Argentina, and the United Kingdom. DiPERK Chile was recently awarded as the best Latin American Distributor. (http://www.diperkcanada.ca/company.asp)
There has been nothing new from the Company at this point, but this is only our first day on the picket lines. We have heard there are a number of customer complaints about lack of Service on their equipment, and we have a number of trucks and suppliers who are turning away – those we applaud. For those who are crossing our picket lines, we encourage our IAMAW pickets to carry a camera, and send us photos of the violators.
We have had a teleconference with the BC Federation of Labour and a number of Unions, and they are aware of our Labour dispute, and have offered support to Machinists Union. IAMAW Local 99 in Alberta has also offered their support and encouragement – they will do all they can to assist us in this dispute, within the limits of the law.
We also have had a number of media calls, and these have been answered by Stan and Al. We understand that the media may approach you and ask your opinion – our advice is to refer them to the Union and we can respond. If they ask you to speculate – and they will – it may get printed or repeated by the media. As an FYI, we understand that the Prince George media got it wrong already: they reported that the Union employees turned down a $5,000.00 signing bonus. This is 100% inaccurate.
All locations should have received a seniority list and a tracking chart with respect to Picket duty – if you are not on the list, make sure to let us know so we can correct this ASAP. You must participate in picket duty in order to be paid Strike pay. Please ensure that you sign up with your picket captains and record all picket shifts. We are thanking all members for keeping our picket lines peaceful and professional. We did have one report of alcohol on a picket line, and we again ask that we keep it to soft drinks, coffee, and water. Let’s save the adult beverages for after our picket duty, and away from your picket lines.
Thanks again for your support!