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The Globe and Mail

Strike action at BC Place won't affect Whitecaps final game

Vancouver Whitecaps' Long Tan reacts after missing a chance to score against the Portland Timbers during the second half of their MLS soccer match in Vancouver, British Columbia October 2, 2011.

Ben Nelms/ Reuters/Ben Nelms/ Reuters

BC Place workers have agreed to hold off strike action to allow the Vancouver Whitecaps to play the last game of their season without facing labour disruption at the newly-renovated stadium.

But employees will be in a legal position to strike by Friday afternoon and labour action, including picket lines, remains a possibility for other events, including November's Grey Cup.

"Nothing has been ruled in or out at this point – other than we are not going to disrupt the Whitecaps game," BCGEU spokeswoman Karen Tankard said on Thursday.

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No action will occur before, during or after the Whitecaps game, she added.

BCGEU Local 1703 represents about 600 PavCo employees, all but about 25 or so part-time, working in jobs including ushers, first-aid and security personnel. Wages in the group range from about $14 to $30 an hour, with tradespeople at the upper end of the range, Ms. Tankard said.

Workers voted in favour of possible strike action on October 3 and the union issued 72-hour strike notice on October 18.

The main issues in contract talks are job security and contracting out.

"Really the only issue for us is job security," Ms. Tankard said, adding that PavCo has recently contracted out security work formerly carried out by union members.

Concession workers at BC Place are represented by a different BCGEU local.

BC Place, home stadium for the Vancouver Whitecaps and the BC Lions, was recently renovated at a cost of $563-million, which included the cost of a new, retractable roof.

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