Workers from USW 1-1937 in Port Alberni just after shift change in front of Alberni Pacific Division (APD) Sawmill. Union rep Hira Chopra, third from left, said Western traditionally has paid benefits while workers were on strike and workers paid the company back once they returned to work. (SUSIE QUINN/Black Press File Photo)

WFP may meet with USW for mediation Sept. 13

WFP made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 4, via press release.

Western Forest Products (WFP) wants to go back to the bargaining table with the United Steel Workers Local 1-1937 (USW) employees as of Sept. 13.

WFP made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 4, via press release. Independent-mediator Vince Ready will be handling the negotiations.

“We look forward to resuming discussions with the USW to negotiate a collective agreement that creates certainty for our employees, while maintaining Western’s competitive position during this particularly challenging time for the forest industry,” Don Demens, WFP President and CEO, noted in a statement. “It is important that we resume operations to supply our customers who, through their purchases, create thousands of jobs in BC.”

However, Brian Butler, USW president, said the union is waiting to hear back from Ready, who met with WFP on Sept. 7 for preliminary talks. What transpires there will determine whether the union will be at the table on Sept. 13, Butler said.

Quick facts about the strike:

* USW employees have been behind picket lines since July 1 when they issued a 72-hour strike notice following a 98.8 per cent vote among its members in favour of taking strike action.

* The USW have said its members started the job action because the company has not seriously addressed union proposals and continues to keep “massive concessions” on the bargaining table as both sides try to negotiate a new collective agreement.

* WFP confirmed that approximately 1,500 of the company’s hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberlands operators and contractors in B.C. went on strike.

* The strike affects all of the company’s United Steelworkers certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in B.C.

* WFP and the USW have been in negotiations since April for a new collective agreement to replace the prior five-year agreement that expired in mid-June.

* The BC Federation of Labour announced a “hot edict” July 11 on WFP in a show of solidarity with striking forest workers.

* On Aug. 20, WFP sent out an email to employees stating that the company is not obligated to provide benefits when a collective agreement is not in place. During the last strike on Vancouver Island in 2007, WFP covered employees’ benefits while they were on the picket line, and employees paid the company back.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Loss of UVic dog park deals a blow to socially anxious pets

Owners of non-socialized dogs seek safe space following closure of Cedar Hill Corner

Camp fun still offered in Greater Victoria

Easter Seals offers day camp options to replace cancelled overnight camps

Public to weigh in on Colwood Royal Bay development Monday

Application to rezone lands north of Latoria Boulevard submitted to council

Residents around Sidney’s Reay Creek Pond welcome federal remediation efforts

It is not clear yet whether Sidney will renovate nearby dam at the same time

Swim advisory issued at Cadboro Bay beach due to high bacteria levels

Island Health advises against water activities, swimming

B.C. Ferries increasing passenger capacity after COVID-19 restrictions

Transport Canada 50-per-cent limit being phased out, no current plans to provide masks

Shellfish industry get funds to clean up at Island sites and beyond

Businesses can apply to cover half of costs to clean up so-called ‘ghost gear’

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

Most Read