Workers from USW 1-1937 in Port Alberni just after shift change in front of Alberni Pacific Division (APD) Sawmill. Union rep Hira Chopra, third from left, said Western traditionally has paid benefits while workers were on strike and workers paid the company back once they returned to work. (SUSIE QUINN/Black Press File Photo)

WFP may meet with USW for mediation Sept. 13

WFP made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 4, via press release.

Western Forest Products (WFP) wants to go back to the bargaining table with the United Steel Workers Local 1-1937 (USW) employees as of Sept. 13.

WFP made the announcement on Wednesday, Sept. 4, via press release. Independent-mediator Vince Ready will be handling the negotiations.

“We look forward to resuming discussions with the USW to negotiate a collective agreement that creates certainty for our employees, while maintaining Western’s competitive position during this particularly challenging time for the forest industry,” Don Demens, WFP President and CEO, noted in a statement. “It is important that we resume operations to supply our customers who, through their purchases, create thousands of jobs in BC.”

However, Brian Butler, USW president, said the union is waiting to hear back from Ready, who met with WFP on Sept. 7 for preliminary talks. What transpires there will determine whether the union will be at the table on Sept. 13, Butler said.

Quick facts about the strike:

* USW employees have been behind picket lines since July 1 when they issued a 72-hour strike notice following a 98.8 per cent vote among its members in favour of taking strike action.

* The USW have said its members started the job action because the company has not seriously addressed union proposals and continues to keep “massive concessions” on the bargaining table as both sides try to negotiate a new collective agreement.

* WFP confirmed that approximately 1,500 of the company’s hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberlands operators and contractors in B.C. went on strike.

* The strike affects all of the company’s United Steelworkers certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in B.C.

* WFP and the USW have been in negotiations since April for a new collective agreement to replace the prior five-year agreement that expired in mid-June.

* The BC Federation of Labour announced a “hot edict” July 11 on WFP in a show of solidarity with striking forest workers.

* On Aug. 20, WFP sent out an email to employees stating that the company is not obligated to provide benefits when a collective agreement is not in place. During the last strike on Vancouver Island in 2007, WFP covered employees’ benefits while they were on the picket line, and employees paid the company back.

Just Posted

Nanaimo-Ladysmith candidates try to chart a path to victory

Conservatives, NDP, Liberals set sights on votes needed to unseat Green incumbent

Comedians with a cause bring their charity fundraising tour to Ladysmith

Tickets are $15 and proceeds go toward Cowichan Cat Rescue

49ers AA Peewee coach Shawn Freer speaks on successful season

Throughout their regular season and tournament play, the 49ers lost only three games

Toth’s comeback results in sudden-death playoff victory

Victoria golfer rallies from four shots down to take prestigious Mount Brenton title

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Safety concerns resurface after fatal bus crash on Vancouver Island

Huu-ay-aht First Nations wants a safe route between Bamfield and Port Alberni

National weather forecasters predict average fall, cold winter

The Weather Network says precipitation will about average in most parts of Canada

Two dead, two in critical condition in highway crash near Campbell River

Highway 19 reopened Sunday night after it was closed in both directions

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Scheer makes quick campaign stop in Comox

Conservative leader highlights tax promises early in campaign

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Most Read