Jeff Bryde is losing the battles, but he swears the war isn't over on the issue of pigeon feces in Okanagan fruit bins.
The forklift driver at Okanagan Tree Fruit Co-op was fired on
Oct. 24 for speaking on an open-line radio show contrary to a Last Chance Agreement that he not contact local media on industry issues.
On Nov. 2, a letter from his union, the United Food and Commercial Workers local 247, indicated he could appeal the union's decision not to proceed to arbitration on his most recent termination. However, a Dec. 10 letter from Local 247 president Suzanne Hodge said Bryde no longer has the ability to appeal.
"We have reached the end of the road with you," said Hodge, and the grievance filed on his behalf has been withdrawn.
"As the union's position is final, I am not interested in any further debate from you regarding this matter. Please do not harass any of the union's staff with a barrage of emails and-or phone calls."
Bryde's phone calls to the union will not be returned, his emails deleted unread and any written correspondence will be returned unopened, she warned.
"If you are unhappy with the union's position, and I have no doubt that you will be, you may voice your complaint to the B.C. Labour Relations Board. Please also make sure that you include this letter in any correspondence that you may send to the board."
For the past year-and-a-half, Bryde has tried to draw attention to pigeon feces collecting on apple bins in storage. He believes the
feces are a health hazard, saying
he required hospitalization after exposure at the packinghouse."I'm losing the battles but the war's not over," Bryde said in an email to Kelowna's Daily Courier Monday.
In 2011, Bryde received a one-day suspension, a five-day suspension and his employment was ultimately terminated "for your insubordination, and your public comments and letter to the editor in relation to the co-operative and B.C. Tree Fruits."
In particular, Bryde wrote a letter to the editor of The Daily Courier, revealing B.C. Tree Fruits Ñ owned by B.C. fruit growers Ñ is importing Washington state
apples. Bryde thinks BCTF should concentrate on marketing and
selling B.C. fruit exclusively.
Bryde went on a hunger strike and picketed outside the B.C. Tree Fruits office on Water Street during his suspension.
The union successfully filed a grievance and with the assistance of an arbitrator, the termination was turned into a six-month
suspension. Bryde signed what was termed a Last Chance Agreement, which included the condition that he not contact media on industry issues.
However, the company subsequently learned Bryde called into and spoke on an open-line radio show on Oct. 9. The co-op investigated and "we learned that you had previously discussed your reinstatement and disclosed a copy of the Last Chance Agreement to a local radio host," said operations director Rod Vint in a letter.
"Through your misconduct and breach of your Last Chance Agreement, you have again
fundamentally and irretrievably breached the employment relationship, and our trust in you."