Kamloops Hudson’s Bay workers go on strike, ask shoppers to avoid store

Employees at a Hudson’s Bay store at Aberdeen Mall in Kamloops say they have walked off the job after their union was unable to reach a deal with their employer about wages.

The workers, who are members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-417, issued a 72-hour strike notice Wednesday, and the strike began at 9:30 a.m. Sunday

The union says it began negotiating a new collective agreement in July. On Tuesday, it says it met with the employer, which did not agree to a proposal of a one per cent wage increase per year.

“Not only has Hudson’s Bay refused to pay a reasonable wage increase, it also continues to have concessionary items it wants to carve out of our 30-year-old collective agreement,” said USW staff representative Sean Ball.

Union financial secretary Jordan Lawrence says they aren’t going to put up with what they are calling the company’s “bullying tactics.”

“Our members have had enough, and during the busiest holiday time for Hudson’s Bay, it is time to send a message loud and clear that this is unacceptable,” he said

Meanwhile he has asked shoppers to avoid the store until an agreement is reached.

“We understand the holiday season is a busy time and we want to assure shoppers and other tenants at Aberdeen Mall that we will not be outside the main mall entrances and will only have our picket lines set up in front of the Hudson’s Bay entrances,” he said. “We encourage customers to shop at the mall but respectfully ask that they honour our legal picket line and find their gifts elsewhere.”

In a statement to CityNews, HBC Corporate vice-president of communications said the company appreciates the hard work and dedication of its store employees.

“We regret the disruption in our Kamloops store and hope to return to serving our customers as soon as possible,” she said. “We remain committed to the bargaining process and look forward to reaching a resolution.”

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