On June 22rd the Rocky Mountaineer locked out over 100 dedicated onboard attendants. Rocky Mountaineer has boasted that they are a 200 million dollar company but refuses to give its employees a reasonable wage increase after 3 years at the same pay rate. They have never followed the federal labour code when it comes to overtime yet the company hides behind that same labour code by using replacement workers (scabs), which is illegal in the province of British Columbia. The use of scab labour undermines the right to fair bargaining by the employees.
The company feels no pressure to negotiate and claims to be running business as usual. The over 100 locked out onboard attendants do not see this as business as usual. It is not usual to be standing on the other side of a fence watching someone else do their job. It is not usual to have overstaffed coaches to make up for the inexperience of the new workers. It is not usual to have "managers" staffing the coaches and serving the guests. And it certainly is not "business as usual" to have guests cross a picket line at the beginning or end of a trip.
The company is doing their best to make the locked out employees look like the bad guys; they will say that they had no choice but to lock their employees out, however the negotiating team had asked for an extension to avoid giving strike notice, and in order for the staff to keep working while negotiating, and it was denied. Instead the company chose lock the staff out and to put into place an expensive contingency plan in an obvious effort to break the union. Some of the workers have been fired while on the picket line for ‘behaviour unbecoming of an onboard attendant’.
They have enlisted an abundance of security to constantly film and intimidate the peaceful picketers, have spent countless dollars trying serve court injunctions against employees that are only trying to get their jobs back. They've put tarpaulins along the fences so that the guests cannot see the faces of the award winning staff that should be on that train.
These are not greedy people, these are people who love their jobs and have 900 collective years of experience on the train. These are the real attendants whose faces can be seen in the literature on the train, advertisements and commercials. They are people with families, mortgages and babies on the way. These are people that dedicate their lives to the company and work tremendously long hours to build a nest egg in order to make the money they earn stretch an entire year as they are not easily employable in the winter time.
The locked out workers have also created an informational video which can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHuci_v7_c0 as well as a facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/RockyMountainTrainLockout This video gives a brief history of the company and the situation at hand. Please have a look at this video and browse this website to see the story of these attendants.
The workers have the support of some of the BC members of parliament as well as the support of Vancouver city councilors but the company will not budge, will not negotiate.
I thank you for taking time to review this and consider our situation.
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