OTTAWA, Ontario—The Federal Bridge Corporation Limited (FBCL) has requested a mediator to assist in reaching an agreement with its unionized workforce at the Blue Water Bridge and avoid any potential labour disruption.
The corporation issued the following statement:
Micheline Dubé, president and CEO, FBCL says, “The Corporation is committed to negotiating a fair deal with its employees. In fact, a generous comprehensive package has been presented to the bargaining unit for consideration, including a general wage increase, increased shift premiums and additional leave benefits. However, to date, a deal has not been reached.”
FBCL is vested in the communities of Point Edward and Sarnia. It has an imposing physical presence with a huge asset that is the international bridge and a dedicated local staff of 69 employees, 47 of which are unionized. Since its amalgamation in 2015, FBCL has increased its workforce at this location, created new operational positions, staffed all open jobs and centralized the Corporation’s IT infrastructure.
Our ability to work effectively and cooperatively to achieve amicable labour relations is key to how the Corporation executes bridge operations. Management of costs are an ongoing concern for the Corporation. Salaries and benefits are significant and management must keep these at a reasonable level in order to have sufficient monies to pay for repairs to ensure the safety and security of Canada’s 2nd busiest international commercial crossing. The Corporation must also repay its long term debt of $86M and ensure an appropriate reserve for retirement benefit plans worth more than $8M.
FBCL amalgamated with the Blue Water Bridge Authority in February 2015. The current Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) local 501 contract expired pre-amalgamation in November 2014. The next round of negotiations are scheduled for November 19th. While we remain optimistic about the outcome, FBCL wants to assure the public that the Blue Water Bridge will remain open at all times. Contingency plans are in place to deal with any eventuality and to maintain traffic flow.