Good morning Sisters and Brothers. We would like to welcome everyone back from what we hope was an enjoyable Xmas spent with family and friends. We are certainly hoping that 2018 will solidify our New Local so we are able to represent our members to the best of our ability and are able to negotiate a great agreement in the Forest Sector and all other sectors of bargaining that we represent!!
We are still in bargaining with Excel but things are moving very slow and there is a meeting scheduled for Feb. 7th. Initial non-monetary proposals have been exchanged with Veiola and there are some dates in place to proceed with negotiating a first Collective Agreement there. Mount Polley negotiations are ongoing and right in the process the employer has told us they will be curtailing operation in the pit and ultimately resulting in approx. 78 hourly employees and 30 plus temps being laid off. And to add salt to a wound, following the horrific fire season we had in the South, on November 2nd there was a fire at Lakeview Sawmill and although it was contained to the South Side of the mill it took nearly a week to have it fully extinguished. Today we have about 40 employees working at the site and but are continuing to fight with the employer over seniority. Soda creek has started up an alternate shift which has seen about 20 employees going there as well as about half dozen going to Quest in Quesnel. We are also working with other Tolko mills to get employees transferred there while the company is working to have Lakeview reopened.
The Local Union continues to be challenged from a lot of the employers these days on representing our members on discipline issues that are ending up in arbitrations. We are happy to report though that the Local was successful in its arbitration with West Fraser over the contributions on LTD. This was a grievance the the company filed against the Union. There was a perceived work stoppage at our QPLY operation in Quesnel prior to Xmas and just this past week we received notice from West Fraser that they were filing a grievance for damages. We shall keep you updated on this scenario.
As was mentioned prior Canfor has included all but 3 of their operations here in the North into CONIFER for negotiations and the question was asked WHY?? Bro. Matters and myself met with representatives of Canfor prior to Xmas and I shall share the answers we received to our questions. And on the topic there are still some operations to conclude their demands for our upcoming Wage and Contract conference that will be held in Kamloops on March 20 and 21. Please get out and participate in these meetings after all it is YOUR collective agreement.
At this time we would like to thank Bro. Alf Wilkins for his dedication in representing workers on their WCB Appeals and the work he did for the Local. We wish you a speedy recover and look forward to working with you in the future. Thank you all for attending and safe journey home.