Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 have reached a tentative agreement to end a more than seven-month-long strike. Pictured here, workers during a rally in Nanaimo on Nov. 6, 2019. (Black Press File Photo)

Western Forest Products and union reach tentative deal to end 7-month-long strike

USW Local 1-1937 membership still has to vote on the terms

The end may be near for a coastal forestry strike that recently entered its eighth month.

Western Forest Products and the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 announced today they have agreed to the terms of a tentative collective agreement.

“With the assistance of special mediators, Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, we have reached a fair and equitable agreement that balances the needs of our employees and our business,” said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western. “This has been a particularly challenging time and I’m pleased that we were able to find common ground through the efforts of all involved.”

The strike has impacted families up and down the Island, but it has been felt especially hard by North Island communities. A grassroots group called Loonies for Loggers began and has been helping support families on the Island who are affected by the strike since the fall.

RELATED: Striking loggers receive support at Campbell River rally

The development comes after months at a standstill.

Among the issues for the union were alternate shifts and a company drug and alcohol policy.

In mid-December, the union had said it was willing to modify its position if talks progressed. But they broke off just before Christmas.

Mediators called the parties back to mediation at the end of January and in early February said they would review their positions.

Early last week, Ready and Rogers withdrew from the mediation process. At the time, they said they saw “no basis for a negotiated settlement.”

They were re-appointed Thursday morning by Harry Bains, Minister of Labour and given “additional powers under the Labour Relations Code.”

RELATED: Campbell River City Council to give $20K to Loonies for Loggers

“This dispute has taken a huge toll on workers and their families as well as the entire coastal forestry community,” he said in a Feb. 6 press release. “We want to see everyone get back on the job.”

USW membership will have a ratification vote on the tentative agreement. The USW bargaining committee has said they will be advising members to accept the agreement.

In a statement today, Brian Butler, president of USW Local-1937, said the details of the agreement would not be released until after the union’s members have a chance to look at and vote on the terms of the agreement. No date has been set, but Butler said he hopes this happens “in a timely manner.”

He is pleased there are no concessions in the tentative agreement.

“Our union is extremely proud of our members’ solidarity in this extended struggle to achieve a fair collective agreement with Western Forest products and their associated contractors,” said Butler. “The local union wishes to thank mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers for their assistance in teaching the tentative agreement.”

The strike began on July 1, 2019.


@marissatiel
marissa.tiel@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

forestry

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

Just Posted

CGL must revise impact assessment on Unist’ot’en Healing Center

Environmental Assessment Office not satisfied with report’s shortcomings

Confusion surrounds terms of RCMP withdrawal from pipeline construction area

B.C. Deputy Commissioner clarifies terms of agreement following minister’s statements

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Bachrach rejects calls for police action against demonstrators

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP says only way out of crisis is “true nation-to-nation” talks

VIDEO: 2020 BC Winter Games wrap up in Fort St. John as torch passes to Maple Ridge

More than 1,000 athletes competed in the 2020 BC Winter Games

‘A long way to go’: UNBC hosts Moose Hide Campaign gathering on Feb. 24

The event is a part of a movement to stand up against violence inflicted on women and children

Still six cases of COVID-19 in B.C. despite reports of Air Canada passenger: ministry

Health ministry wouldn’t comment on specific flight routes

Violent ends to past Indigenous protests haunt Trudeau government

Trudeau adopted a more assertive tone Friday, insisting the barricade must come down

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

B.C. money laundering inquiry to begin amid hopes for answers, accountability

Eby argued that most B.C. residents already know the previous government, at best, turned a blind eye

Blockades remain in place as Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs returning to B.C.

Hereditary Chief Woos said they are ready to engage in nation-to-nation talks with the B.C.

Most Read