Abdul Shikhden and Amer al Kadro work at the planer mill of Skeena Sawmills in 2018. (File photo)

Skeena Sawmills in Terrace reach labour agreement with local United Steelworkers union

The four and a half year long deal was ratified on May 19, 2020 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020

Skeena Sawmills and United Steelworkers Local (USW) 1-1937 have signed a new labour agreement after five months of negotiations.

“The negotiation process was respectful and productive, reflecting our strong working relationship with the USW, and we appreciate the negotiating team’s commitment to reaching an agreement that meets the needs of their members and our company,” Roger Keery, Skeena Sawmills president in a media release.

The four and a half year long deal was ratified on May 19, 2020 and is retroactive to Jan. 1, 2020. The labour agreement aligns wages and benefits with other agreements in the industry.

It also contains provisions that recognizing the ‘cultural needs of Indigenous employees.’ For example, should the federal government make National Indigenous People’s Day a public holiday, it would become a statutory holiday under the agreement.

Also, provisions for bereavement leave are expanded for First Nation employees to recognize cultural differences in the definition of family members.

“The new collective agreement delivers important benefits to our members, including improvements in wages and benefits and improved contracting out language,” said Rick Nelson, USW Local 1-1937 vice president.

“While negotiations and ratification were complicated by the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic, we are pleased to have been able to deliver this strong agreement for our members.”

Negotiations began under normal conditions and shifted to conference calls due to COVID-19. Voting was done at the mill site and followed physical distancing procedures.

Skeena Sawmills is headquartered in Vancouver and its sawmill operations are based in Terrace. A sister company, Skeena Bioenergy, operates a pellet plant next to the sawmill.

Skeena Sawmills and Bioenergy directly employ 150 people producing hemlock balsam products for pacific rim and North American markets. It also produces western red cedar products for the North American market. The mill has a annual production capacity of around 120 million board feet of lumber.

USW Local 1-1937 represents more than 6,000 members in all sectors of coastal British Columbia including Vancouver Island, coastal islands including Haida Gwaii and the mainland coast area from the Alaskan border south to the Washington State border.

“This agreement provides the labour certainty Skeena needs as we continue to plan for expansion and upgrading our sawmill,” said Keery in the release. Skeena Sawmills is in the process of upgrading its large log line and headrig. Future plans include a new small log canter, dry kilns and lumber scanning equipment.

READ MORE: Skeena Sawmills spending millions to modernize


@BenBogstie
ben.bogstie@terracestandard.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

Regional district proposes closure of unmonitored recycling bins, new depot for Masset

Proposed updates to Solid Waste Management Plan aim to reduce waste on Haida Gwaii, save money

Rainmakers of Haida Gwaii set to perform for Special Woodstock

20th festival will feature musicians with special needs and other bands from around the world

Haida Gwaii COVID cases climb to 24 over B.C. Day long weekend

10 cases active, 14 cases now recovered; 23 people also isolating as a result of contact tracing

Boon Docs comics illustrate Haida Gwaii health staff ‘Behind the Mask’

Family doctor and cartoonist Caroline Shooner shares inspiration for new comic series

COVID-19: Haida Gwaii grocery stores tighten restrictions

Some in-store grocery shopping shuts down following confirmation of community outbreak

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Abbotsford mom worried about her two kids in Beirut following explosion

Shelley Beyak’s children were abducted by their dad in 2018

Young Canadians, hospitality workers bear the brunt of mental strain in 2020: report

A study by Morneau Shepell points to economic uncertainty in the pandemic as the cause for angst

Most Read