No end in sight for Brunswick Smelter strike – by Tori Weldon (CBC News New Brunswick – May 23, 2019)

It’s been one month since unionized employees at Brunswick Smelter started striking, and both sides of the contract dispute say they’re waiting for the other to come back to the table.

On April 24, employees at the Glencore Canada-owned smelter were sent home — with pay — hours before the strike was set to begin. Because they were paid for their time, both parties agree the union is striking and the contract dispute is not a lockout.

Bart Dempsey, president of local 7085 of the United Steelworkers, said “we haven’t heard anything from the company, but it remains the same. We’re willing to go back to the table if they remove these concessions that we don’t believe they need.”

Dempsey said the main sticking point revolves around reduced union and safety representation and the removal of early retirement plans. “We have a full-time president’s office and a full-time safety office, they are looking to remove those two offices basically for the president to do his union business outside of his regular work schedule,” he said.

Dempsey said he normally works around 60 hours a week as president of the union and doesn’t see how it could be fit in on top of a full-time job.

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