Rail workers’ lockout felt down the line to Chilliwack

The lockout of more than 100 Southern Railway of BC workers this week could impact those dependent on train traffic for moving freight.

SRY announced Monday that 126 workers from CUPE 7000 had been locked out

SRY announced Monday that 126 workers from CUPE 7000 had been locked out

The lockout of more than 100 Southern Railway of BC workers this week could impact Chilliwack companies dependent on the train traffic for moving freight.

Management at the New West-based Southern Rail has said it will keep the trains running through the Fraser Valley to Chilliwack with the help of 34 managers.

SRY announced Monday that 126 workers from CUPE 7000 had been locked out, after months of talks and mediation failed to yield a collective agreement.

The Chilliwack division of Rogers Foods Ltd. on Simpson Road in Chilliwack uses SRY rail service for grain shipment primarily, said Joe Girdner, vice president of procurement and logistics for Rogers Foods.

“We do some limited flour, but the bulk of it is grain,” he noted.

Things could slow down with reduced rail service, he said, as they typically would receive several shipments per week.

“But we’ve been assured by management at SRY that there will not be a heavy disruption of service,” Girdner said. “We will expect some slowdowns, but SRY will be providing service with some their management stepping in.”

Chilliwack companies like Rogers, as well as Hi Pro Feeds, which is on the same rail line, have been talking about the SRY lockout and making contingency plans.

“SRY has done a good job,” said Girdner. “They have been in negotiations with the union for some time now, and they’ve been good at keeping us updated. So we knew there was a possibility of this previously.”

It happened Monday.

“We are extremely disappointed in the outcome of these negotiations,” said Frank Butzelaar, president of Southern Railway of BC.

Throughout the lockout, SRY management crews “will do their best to minimize the impact” on customers, he pledged in a release.

The lockout affects several workplaces, the three main rail sites being New Westminster Trapp Yard, Huntingdon in Abbotsford and Annacis Island in Delta. SRY managers are now in charge of the rail line that runs from Vancouver to Chilliwack.

SRY moves freight around the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley with nearly half of it coming or going from Annacis Island. The railway served 72-hour lockout notice on Dec. 31, a day after CUPE 7000 members voted 91 per cent to turn down the six-year offer of 1.5 per cent for the first four years and 1.9 per cent for the final two. Only 10 members did not vote. The lockout went into effect Monday at 5 a.m.

“I’m not really surprised given that they’ve been threatening for some time that they were going to do this,” said CUPE 7000 president Bill Magri.

The union, which has been joined on the picket line by SRY’s six office workers represented by COPE 378, is expecting the dispute to be a long one. They only met six times in six months.

“It could be a long one, and we’re definitely prepared. We’ll just dig in and see where we go,” said Magri.

with files from Grant Granger, New Westminster News Leader



Just Posted

Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema, a member of the Canadian national women’s soccer squad.
Another scoreless draw for Chilliwack’s Jordyn Huitema and Canadian national women’s soccer squad

Canada played Brazil to a 0-0 tie days after doing the same in a friendly against the Czech Republic

FVRD surveyed public opinion on cannabis production and processing in the electoral areas. Odour and distance from residential areas were the top concerns. (Black Press file)
Cannabis production and processing rules being drafted by Fraser Valley Regional District

Data from public opinion survey will be used to guide cannabis-related land use

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

Chilliwack firefighters watch as an O’Connor Towing operator removes a stolen Volkswagen station wagon from the Fraser River off Cannor Road in west Chilliwack on June 13, 2021. (William Snow photo)
PHOTOS: Stolen vehicle dumped in Fraser River in Chilliwack Sunday

Search and Rescue determined there was no one inside the car found upside down off Cannor Road

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Highway notices like this come down effective June 14. Public health restrictions on non-essential travel and commercial operation have hit local businesses in every corner of B.C. (B.C. government)
Province-wide travel back on in B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan

Gathering changes include up to 50 people for outdoor events

Most Read