Local 31 employs 10 full-time Business Representatives: 1 in Whitehorse (Yukon); 1 in Nanaimo (Vancouver Island); 1 in Prince George (B.C.'s Interior); and the remaining 7 work from the Local's Head Office in Delta (outskirts of Vancouver) British Columbia. Each Business Representative has an assigned number of bargaining units for which he or she handles all grievances and negotiates first or renewal collective agreements. When a Local 31 member has a problem at work he or she takes up the matter directly with a supervisor. If the matter cannot be resolved the employee files a grievance and the Business Representative engages in settlement discussion with the Company.
This system works well in resolving most disputes because employees have hands-on knowledge of how the workplace is run and the Business Representative is well positioned to argue the merits of the complaint with the Employer. While Local 31 endorses a mediation model of labour relations the Local's Business Representatives are tenacious in their advocacy of members' rights. All of Local 31's Business Representatives were "rank-and-filers" at one time. That industry know-how is the foundation for other acquired skills of contract negotiation and dispute resolution.