Strathcona Gardens to re-open while both sides meet for mediation. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Gardens to re-open while both sides meet for mediation. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror

Strathcona Gardens, union agree to go to mediation/arbitration

Arena to be open Tuesday, entire facility Wednesday as mediation continues

The strike at the Strathcona Gardens recreation centre in Campbell River is ending, with staff coming back to work as of Feb. 1 for ice groups, and Feb. 2 for the general public.

The United Steelworker Local 1-1937 and the Strathcona Regional District have agreed to both come to the table to resolve the labour dispute through mediation and arbitration. During that time, staff have agreed to return to work while both parties use an independent mediator/arbitrator for the negotiations.

The arenas will be available for booked ice user groups on Tuesday, Feb. 1 and the entire complex will be open to the general public on Wednesday.

On Jan. 28, the USW posted a notice on Facebook saying that union members voted to accept a proposal with “very minimal” conditions.

The members voted in favour of the proposal, which was to accept the option of mediation and arbitration with Vince Ready because of the “many user groups and facility users that have stood so kindly beside them in solidarity.”

The USW release also mentioned an incident on Jan. 27 where a group of people attempted to cross a picket line. The release said the decisions were “not based on the actions of a small handful of people who chose to cross our picket line.”

The USW brought the proposal to the SRD, who responded Monday afternoon by agreeing to come back to the table.

“The amount of support the workers received from the community, the user groups, and from other unions was completely overwhelming and on behalf of myself and our members we sincerely thank you all in solidarity,” said USW bargaining agent Shelley Siemens on Monday. “It is my understanding that the members are being scheduled for work as early as tomorrow. I know they are looking forward to seeing everyone again as they resume their roles.”

The strike has been in place since Nov. 1, 2021. The next steps will be to meet with the mediator and attempt to find a voluntary settlement on wages for a three year term. If both sides continue to disagree, Ready will issue a final, binding decision.

All COVID-19 protocols will be followed and public health orders will be in place.

RELATED: Union workers strike at Strathcona Gardens

SRD to approve all refund requests from user groups affected by Strathcona Gardens strike



marc.kitteringham@campbellrivermirror.com

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