Softwood lumber is pictured at Tolko Industries in Heffley Creek, B.C., April, 1, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

No strike action yet for Northern B.C. forestry workers

Union heads into talks in southern Interior, with hopes they could inform northern agreement

The strike notice issued by United Steelworkers local 1-2017 on Oct. 3 has so far not led to strike action for more than 1,500 forestry workers affected in Northern B.C.

The union issued the 72-hour strike notice on Wednesday last week, and have been legally able to take action since Saturday Oct. 6 at 8 a.m.

The strike notice is for operations affiliated with the Council of Northern Interior Forest Industry Relations (CONIFER), which includes operations in Houston, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Prince George, Mackenzie, Fort St. John, Quesnel and Williams Lake. Operations affected include divisions of Canfor, Conifex, Dunkley Lumber, Lakeland Mills, Tolko Industries and West Fraser Mills, among others.

READ MORE: Steelworkers union issues strike notice affecting 1,500 mill workers in northern B.C.

Union president Brian O’Rourke will be attending negotiation meetings between the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) and Locals 1-417, 1-423 and 1-403, all of which represent forestry workers in B.C.’s Interior. The negotiations are taking place in Kelowna Oct. 10-12. The purpose is to “attempt to conclude a collective agreement and set a pattern for all outstanding B.C. Interior negotiations,” said the latest online update from USW 1-2017.

Paul French, the first vice president of USW Local 1-2017, said they are hopeful talks in the south can end up in positive news for the north.

“We pattern bargain. If the nuts and bolts are put together in the south, it should result in meaningful talks in the north, and vice versa – if we had had meaningful talks, it would have made their talks a lot easier. They are different players in the south but quite a few are the same, like Tolko is represented in the south as well as the north,” he explained.

The USW 1-2017 update online said that if the IFLRA tables a similar package to CONIFER in the north, the southern Interior locals will conduct a strike vote just as Local 1-2017 did in the north in August 2018.

French said they hope to avoid a strike, but currently USW Local 1-2017 has no negotiation dates planned with CONIFER.

“Simply put, right now the notice has been served. We are hoping calmer heads prevail and that we can get back to the bargaining table and avoid strike action. To this date members are still working.

“We are going to give the south a try. As of right now we are in a legal position to strike, but we have not called a strike.”

Both the southern Interior and Northern B.C. agreements expired June 30, 2018.

The IFLRA is the bargaining agent for the following operations:

Local 1-417: Canfor Vavenby, West Fraser Chasm, Tolko Heffley Creek, Aspen Planer sites 1 & 2 and Canoe Forest Products.

Local 1-423: Tolko’s Armstrong, White Valley, Kelowna and Lumby Roads Crew, Lumby Forest Techs, Interfor Grand Forks and Weyerhaeuser Princeton.

Local 1-405: Canfor’s Radium, Elko and Woodlands, Interfor Castlegar, Galloway Lumber, LP Golden and Stella Jones.



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

Pair of Haida Gwaii sailings cancelled due to windstorm

MV Kwuna will be parked due to the adverse weather

Severe wind warning for Haida Gwaii and the North Coast

Winds of more than 100 km/h are predicted for Wednesday afternoon

On the Wing: Christmas Bird Count Reports 2019 part 2

Haida Gwaii’s bird count report for Tlell and Greater Massett

B.C. premier talks forestry, service needs with handful of northern mayors in Prince George

Prince George meeting completes premier’s tour of Kitimat, Terrace, Fort St. James and Quesnel

Indigenous LNG supporters chide human rights advocates over pipeline comments

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline’s 670-kilometre path

B.C.-based firefighting plane crashes in Australia, killing three

Three people are confirmed dead in the crash in New South Wales

Canada prepares as WHO decides whether to declare global coronavirus emergency

The city of Wuhan, China, has shut down outbound flights and trains

Survey finds support among Canadians for broader assisted-dying law

The survey was conducted Jan. 17 to 21 among 1,552 Canadians eligible to vote

Veteran B.C. journalist battles cancer through pioneering immunotherapy treatment

Vancouver Island rallies around JR Rardon and family during stay in Seattle

New nasal spray launched in Canada to combat hypoglycemic shock in diabetics

Baqsimi is a nasal spray contains three milligrams of glucagon

Prices for recreational marijuana in B.C. down from a year ago

New inflation figures show gasoline, housing and certain kinds of food cost more

B.C. RCMP spent roughly $750K on massive manhunt for Port Alberni men

Manitoba RCMP helped with 17-day search through the province’s northern terrain

Future space homes could be made of mushrooms

NASA explores use of fungi to build structures in space

Most Read