“We are still on strike at Teck,” United Mine Workers of America spokesperson Phil Smith told ILN Monday afternoon.
Workers walked off the job on the evening of August 6 in move called by United Mine Workers of America Local 7292.
“We have repeatedly offered to meet at any time and any place to work to resolve this dispute in a way that is fair and reasonable for both sides, but so far the company has refused to even talk,” Smith said, noting that Teck coal division vice-president Boyd Payne has also been silent despite the UMWA’s requests to meet.
“It would appear that company management isn’t interested in reaching an equitable settlement at this time.”
Teck announced the strike on August 6, the same day as the union released its initial statement, but did not indicate at that time how many workers were involved.
Smith said no one has gone to work for any other facility since walking off the Coal Mountain site.
The company did not respond to a request for more details and comment from International Longwall News on Monday, but did confirm last week that the workers’ previous labor agreement expired the last day of 2009.
Smith said the UMWA’s sources indicated that the lack of response would likely continue, as it has been told that the producer’s corporate management has instructed mine management at the local level to refuse discussion while the strike is in force.
“[That] is, quite frankly, an ineffective way to resolve this dispute,” he said, noting that Teck and the union met for eight months in an attempt to negotiate an agreement before being forced to take the step to strike.
“Now management is saying they want to meet with us to reach a resolution, but only if we will stop the strike first,” Smith said.
“Why weren’t they prepared to do that before they forced us to strike, and why should we trust them now?”