Tara Sprickerhoff photo

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

Forestry workers across region would be affected if strike goes ahead

United Steelworkers Local 1-2017, which represents more than 1,500 forestry workers in B.C., has issued a 72-hour strike notice as of this morning (Oct. 3).

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.

Union president Brian O’Rourke says they will be legally able to strike as of 8 a.m. Saturday morning.

“We have been negotiating for a period of time with CONIFER … last week we had the assistance of a mediator for five days and we didn’t make any headway.”

O’Rourke says that it is not the intention of the union to strike, however.

“We hope we can get the employer back to the table to continue with some meaningful bargaining.”

The collective agreement under negotiation includes wages and benefits, and is the union’s main agreement. The previous agreement expired June 30, 2018. The union has been in talks with CONIFER since then. Over 90 per cent of union members voted in support of a potential strike in August.

An Oct. 2 update posted on the USW 1-2017 website reads: “It appears as though CONIFER is not serious about setting the pattern for the forest industry given the fact they have offered a package that falls well short of other recent settlements in the forest industry and far inferior to the 2013-2018 agreement.”

The USW update says CONIFER remains steadfast on concessions including Tuesday-Saturday clean-up shifts at straight time, statutory holidays paid at straight time rather than time off on alternate shifts, an extended probationary period and an increase in employees’ costs for Health and Welfare benefits.

CONIFER could not be reached for an immediate comment.

READ MORE: More than 1,500 forestry workers vote to strike if needed



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

UPDATE: Chip truck overturned on Maple Drive near Plywood Hill

Motorists should avoid the area if possible as the roadway is partially blocked

City of Quesnel advance voter turnout low

Two more chances to cast ballots for councillor, school trustee and Public Works referendum

‘Police are ready’ for legal pot, say Canadian chiefs

But Canadians won’t see major policing changes as pot becomes legal

Trial date set for convicted animal abuser Catherine Adams

Adams will be facing her breach of probation charges in court on Dec. 10

UNBC Quesnel hosts promising meeting for teacher hopefuls

More than 35 locals showed up for UNBC Bachelor of Education meeting

Video: An up-close look at beluga whales in Hudson Bay

An up-close look as some belugas greet whale watchers off the coast of Churchill, Manitoba

Canucks: Pettersson in concussion protocol, Beagle out with broken forearm

Head coach Travis Green called the hit ‘a dirty play’

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Private marijuana stores should shut down, Mike Farnworth says

B.C. has approved 62 licences, but they still need local approval

HPV vaccine does not lead to riskier sex among teen girls: UBC

Girls are less likely to have sex now than they were a decade ago

Koreas agree to break ground on inter-Korean railroad

The rival Koreas are holding high-level talks Monday to discuss further engagement amid a global diplomatic push to resolve the nuclear standoff with North Korea.

Most Read