John Humphrey, business representative and organizer for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, accuses the GAIN Group of stalling contract negotiations and “trying to gut the contract.” (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

John Humphrey, business representative and organizer for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, accuses the GAIN Group of stalling contract negotiations and “trying to gut the contract.” (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Workers at auto dealerships in Nanaimo and Victoria set up picket lines

Sixty GAIN Group detailers, technicians, service advisors went on strike Friday

GAIN Group Subaru and Mercedes-Benz dealerships in Nanaimo and Three Point Motors in Victoria are behind picket lines.

Sixty automotive detailers, technicians and service advisors who are unionized under the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local 456, went on strike Friday morning in a dispute with GAIN Group over wages and benefits to be included in a new labour contract.

John Humphrey, the union’s business representative and organizer, said negotiations between GAIN and the union started in late August, but the company is “trying to gut the contract” by changing contract wording and making other changes affecting overtime, sick benefits and apprenticeships. He also said the company has tried to deny him access to the unionized employees.

Humphrey said the union is asking for three-per cent wage increases for each year of the three-year contract.

“Which is average … my last six contracts here on the Island have been all three, three and threes,” he said.

He said he wants to bring the wages of GAIN Group workers in Nanaimo on par with employees in Victoria.

“We’re trying to get wage parity because what happens is they pay these guys different from what they do in Victoria and a long time ago they used to use the excuse that Victoria’s more expensive than Nanaimo,” he said. “I live in Nanaimo. We can all agree we’re just like … Victoria.”

Humphrey said workers are prepared to strike until GAIN “gets back to the table and [sits] down with us and negotiate the contract these people deserve.”

In a statement issued by the GAIN Group on Friday, the company expressed surprise at the job action and apologized to customers and employees who want to work for any inconvenience caused by the strike.

“We have been trying to reach a new collective agreement with the union that represent our service employees since September,” the statement noted. “Our technicians and other employees currently receive some of the highest wages, RRSPs and benefits of any dealership on the Island in addition to money for work boots and tools, comprehensive health and dental benefits, guaranteed hours of pay per week, and much more. They are also comparable to the top dealerships in Vancouver.

“The union demands include wage increases as high as 33 per cent in the first year with many increases greater than 20 per cent and 10 per cent. We are conscious that any significant increase in costs will lead to incresed costs to our customers.”

The statement went on to say GAIN’s wage and RRSP increase proposals are in line with the cost of living and provincial guidelines and company’s dealership proposals also recognize differences between Nanaimo and Victoria markets.

“The union has used hardball, ‘take it or leave it’ tactics in these negotiations, refusing to meet with the dealership to bargain, refusing to discuss dealership proposals, refusing to minimize inconvenience to customers, rotating strikes, and misleading employees about a range of issues. The union tactics resulted in a ‘bargaining in bad faith’ complaint being filed against the union.”

The strike does not affect GAIN Group’s other automotive brands dealerships, which are not unionized.

Keith Ladouceur, general manager of the Nanaimo Mercedes-Benz and BMW/Mini dealerships, said business continued as usual Friday “as best as we can manage.”

“It’s not a personal issue with the employees and, so far, it’s been a respectful demonstration. We’ve been able to maintain the sales side of things and, to the best of our ability, help keep the dealership moving forward,” Ladouceur said. “Keep in mind there are four dealerships on this site and only two of those dealerships have union members, so it’s really about supporting the bigger picture … our clients, who are very important to us and the business itself.”

READ ALSO: Nanaimo city councillors approve rezoning request for luxury car dealership



photos@nanaimobulletin.com
Like us on
Facebook and follow us on Twitter

 

Detailers, service technicians and service advisors at GAIN Group’s Subaru and Mercedes dealerships in Nanaimo and at Three Point Motors in Victoria went on strike Friday morning over what the workers’ union spokesman said were issues involving delays and attempts to change benefits, overtime requirements and other contract clauses. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Detailers, service technicians and service advisors at GAIN Group’s Subaru and Mercedes dealerships in Nanaimo and at Three Point Motors in Victoria went on strike Friday morning over what the workers’ union spokesman said were issues involving delays and attempts to change benefits, overtime requirements and other contract clauses. (CHRIS BUSH/The News Bulletin)

Just Posted

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

Helicopter crew members onboard HMCS Halifax conduct inflight refueling during Operation Reassurance in the Mediterranean Sea in 2020. Some of the military choppers flying around Greater Victoria recently are taking part in a special ops training exercise. (Photo by Cpl. Braden Trudeau/Trinity-Formation Imaging Services)
Special Ops exercise brings influx of helicopters to Victoria

Ontario-based air force unit comes to Victoria to train over ocean

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read