The USW Bargaining Committee, representing the USW Locals 1-417 (Kamloops), 1-423 (Kelowna), 1-405 (Cranbrook) and 1-2017 (Prince George), including 2600 members in the south region and 2000 members in the north region, booked out provincial mediator Dave Schaub late Friday night after talks broke down between the two parties.
The United Steelworkers (USW) in the south region have been in legal strike position since November 3 and agreed to provincial mediation November 2 in order to kickstart stalled negotiations that have been going on for five months. The collective agreement covering forestry workers in the Northern and Southern Interior expired June 30, 2018.
“After making some very significant moves to break the logjam between the two parties, the industry still insisted on keeping concessions on the table and dictating conditions on bargaining,” said Bob Matters, USW Staff and lead negotiator after three days of mediation in Kelowna failed to produce an agreement.
Booking the mediator out requires a 48-hour time period to expire from the notice being received by the BCLRB before job action can take place. Following that, early next week job action will begin at various operations in the South region, following in the actions of the North region that has been in legal strike position since October 6 and participating in an overtime ban as well as rotating strikes that have occurred at West Fraser Planer and Tolko Lakeview in Williams Lake, Tolko-Soda Creek, along with Canfor PG Sawmill in Prince George.
The South region’s USW operations will be in official strike position Wednesday morning, November 21 at approximately 10AM, Pacific time.
With the forest industry reporting record profits in 2018, the employer is not willing to share in those profits while insisting the union agree to concessions. Halted job action in the North region will restart with continuing job action while the South region’s operations will begin strategic job action early next week.
The USW Bargaining Committee remains committed to achieving a fair collective agreement for our members. The bargaining committee has pushed the employer hard at the negotiating table and believe now job action by the membership is needed to send a clear message.
More information will be shared with members as it comes available.