United Steel has lost an appeal of a labour ruling that confirmed Taan Forest’s right to hire small, local companies on Tree Farm Licence 60.
The union had argued that according to the collective agreement Taan inherited when it bought TFL 60, it could only use one or two large contractors.
So-called “stump-to-dump” contractors have enough workers and machines to handle every phase of logging, from falling to hauling. Starting one on island would likely cost $8 to $12 million, and it would need a monthly payroll of around $500,000.
Last January, a labour arbitrator struck out the “stump-to-dump” rule, finding first that it was nullified by a change in the TFL’s ownership in 2002, and second that the union failed to uphold the rule while Edwards & Associates worked the TFL from 2011 to 2014.
Separately, the arbitrator also found that in Taan’s case, the rule violates B.C.’s human rights code because while intended to protect union jobs, it also has the effect of discriminating against the small-scale forestry businesses owned by members of the Haida Nation.
Writing in a Aug. 17 decision that denied the appeal, Hon. Justice Gail Dickson found B.C.’s Court of Appeal had no jurisdiction to hear it because the core of last year’s decision involved human rights law as well as labour relations. Any review of the decision should instead be done by the Labour Relations Board, the court found.