Four months in, striking Kamloops HBC workers look for path back to negotiating table

Bay strike nears four months

Striking workers at the Kamloops Hudson’s Bay Company store who have spent nearly four months on the picket line say they’ve tried different ways of getting the company back to the negotiating table, but nothing has worked.

The store has been closed since Dec. 10, when workers walked off the job seeking higher pay. Negotiations fell through in January, and the dispute has been at a standstill ever since.

Jordan Lawrence, USW Local 1-417 financial secretary, said tactics including email campaigns and leafleting in front of stores have had little effect.

“We've tried leafleting at other Bay stores in Kelowna and Vernon, so we've sent some of our members out there to leaflet in front of those stores and kind of to get the word out,” he said.

Lawrence said the workers have a new tactic planned that they hope will bring their employer back to the table, but they don’t want to release any details until it “gets off the ground.”

“We're trying to find different ways to get HBC back to the table. So far, nothing's worked,” he said.

“Now we're gonna try something maybe a little different and on a bigger scale.”

HBC has been offering a one per cent wage increase for each contract year, but the workers say they’ll need more to obtain a livable wage.

A spokesperson from the company told Castanet Kamloops there was “no new information to share.”

In a statement issued in January, HBC said they are “committed to the bargaining process and look forward to reaching a resolution.”

“Hudson’s Bay appreciates the hard work and dedication of its store associates, who serve our customers every day. We regret the disruption in our Kamloops store and hope to return to serving our customers as soon as possible,” the statement said.

Aberdeen Mall representatives did not reply to a request for comment for this story.

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