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After failed negotiations, employees of the Hudson’s Bay store in Kamloops have begun a strike as of 9:30 am on Sunday.
The workers are members of the United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 1-417 and are encouraging the public to avoid the store until the labour dispute is resolved.
“Not only has Hudson’s Bay refused to pay a reasonable wage increase, it also continues to have concessionary items it wants to carve out of our 30-year-old collective agreement,” said Sean Ball, USW staff representative.
The two sides met this past Tuesday at the BC Labour Relations Board with a mediator to attempt to reach an agreement according to a press release sent out this morning.
The USW added that Hudson’s Bay chose not to move on a wage proposal of 1% for each year of the contract and held on to “unneeded concession demands.”
“Our members have had enough, and during the busiest holiday time for Hudson’s Bay, it is time to send a message loud and clear that this is unacceptable,” said Jordan Lawrence, USW Local 1-417 financial secretary.
“Our members will not put up with these bullying tactics from the company any longer.”
The workers issued a 72-hour strike notice to the company on Dec. 6 and have officially gone to the picket line.
Lawrence added that the picket lines will only be set up in front of the Hudson’s Bay entrances and not outside of Aberdeen Mall’s main entrances.
The striking members encourage the public to shop at the mall but to honour the picket line and find gifts elsewhere.
The Hudson’s Bay in Kamloops has been unionized since 1993 and there has only been one previous dispute, which was over the first collective agreement and lasted nine months.