This story has been updated and corrected. On clarification Capilano mediation is not having a direct affect.
Earlier, Updated with profile of District lawyer Adriana Wills
The bitter dispute between the District of Kitimat and its striking municipal employees is going to mediation.
The news release from the District of Kitimat says the BC Labour Relations Board has set aside May 1 to 4 for preliminary talks.
April 13, 2015
On April 03, 2015 the Union ended negotiations with the District of Kitimat. The District extended another opportunity for the Union to accept the February 26, 2015 Final Offer by April 12, 2015. The Union declined that opportunity.
This morning the Union applied to the Labour Relations Board for the services of a Mediator. The District has agreed to participate in mediation.
The Mediator appointed today asked the parties to set aside May 01 – 04, 2015 as potential dates for initial meetings.
So far, Unifor 2300 has not commented on the announcement. However, Ron Poole said, District Chief Administrative Officer says both sides in the Kitimat dispute are making an effort with the Labour Relations Board to get things started faster, perhaps arranging a weekend meeting before the projected start on May 1.
Northwest Coast Energy News has confirmed postings on Facebook that said the District of Kitimat is using the services of a prominent Vancouver based employment firm, Harris and Co. If the two sides had not agreed to mediation, the law firm would have taken over the negotiations, Northwest Coast Energy News has confirmed.
The lawyer representing the District is Adriana Wills, who has more than 30 years experience in employment law including labour relations in municipal government.
Wills was hired by Prince George to serve as their chief spokesperson during collective bargaining with the Canadian Union of Public Employees locals 1048 and 399. Wills’ work helped by city to reach an agreement with CUPE after a year of negotiations. However, the city refused a request under for the Freedom of Information Act from the Prince George Citizen to find out how much Wills was paid. The Prince George budget says it pays Harris and Co. $25,000 a year.
According to Wills’ Linked In profile, she speaks fluent Portuguese.
The profile on the law firm website says:
Adriana represents a broad range of clients in both the private and public sectors. These include clients in the forest, manufacturing, service, chemical industries, local government, health care and, educational industries. She provides the full scope of legal services to those clients including: strategic planning; risk management; collective bargaining; policy development; training; and, advocacy. Adriana believes in providing practical solutions to the legal challenges faced by clients.
Wills has been with Harris and Co. since 1992. She is also an activist on mental health issues.
(Earlier Monday by Capilano University to also agreed to go to mediation Faculty at Capilano University have been on strike since last Wednesday, April 8.
After both sides in the Capilano dispute agreed to mediation, the Capilano Faculty Association agreed to suspend its strike action. The university will resume operations Tuesday. Exams will begin on Thursday, April 16 and end Friday, April 24.
The District of Kitimat employees walked off the job just before midnight on February 28. There is no indication whether or not Unifor 2300 will suspend the strike as the Capilano Faculty Association has)