Job action may disrupt LNG Canada pipeline project
Kitimat, BC – Friday afternoon, Sodexo hospitality workers at Cedar Valley Lodge have voted 97% in favour of strike action. Workers are frustrated with little movement by management in bargaining to address cost of living concerns. Cedar Valley Lodge is the only accommodation facility in Kitimat large enough to house workers for the LNG Canada project. Usually accommodating up to 5,000 camp workers, a strike at the worksite could cause significant disruption to pipeline work.
Sodexo Cedar Valley Lodge hospitality workers are the lowest compensated workers at the LNG Canada construction site. The poly-party vote was conducted by UNITE HERE Local 40 and IBEW Local 993. The workers are asking for significant economic improvements that will allow them to keep up with the rising cost of living. The 450 workers – including housekeepers, kitchen staff, janitors, lounge servers, guest service agents, and maintenance – unionized with UNITE HERE Local 40 and IBEW on April 12.
BC Building Trades workers at the LNG Canada camp received a 12.5 % wage increase in 2022, and by the end of October 2023 will receive an additional 10% increase. Sodexo hospitality workers at Cedar Valley Lodge were not included in these increases. Some Lodge workers are making $5 per hour less than they earned in the same positions at the Kitimat Modernization Project 8 years ago.
“Cedar Valley Lodge workers are being treated unfairly. We deserve fair pay for the work we do – not to be the lowest paid people at the LNG Canada camp. With families to support, we need to be able to keep up with our bills. We will not be disrespected anymore, and we are ready to strike if we do not receive a fair proposal,” said Mike Lightheart, a First Cook who has worked at Cedar Valley Lodge for 3 years.
Mediation between the Union and the employer begins today at the BC Labour Board.
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