Letter: Negotiating goalposts shifty
To the editor:
Re: The current FortisBC labour dispute, whereby Fortis has locked out close to 200 of their IBEW union members.
I take exception to the comments made by FortisBC communications director Joyce Wagenaar in recent media statements: “Of course (FortisBC) remains committed to negotiating and being available to return to the bargaining table,” Wagenaar explains. “We’d like to resolve this for our employees and our customers.”
Since FortisBC locked out their employees at the end of June, each time since that they have participated in any negotiation sessions, they have added new concessions for the union to address before a settlement can be reached.
My question is why? How can the two sides ever reach an agreement, when Fortis keeps moving what the end goal looks like?
As a public company, FortisBC is certainly entitled to run its business any way they see fit. However, if FortisBC truly wanted to resolve this dispute, they would negotiate a settlement based only on the issues that were on the table at the original time of lockout, rather than upping the ante each time they discuss resolving this labour dispute.
From my third party observation FortisBC likes the savings they’re realizing from having their employees locked out. If they truly wanted to negotiate a settlement, they could lift the lockout order and let the employees return to work while discussing a contract and/or ensure the only issues on the table are what were there in June.