South Country forestry workers plan strike action

Canfor Elko Sawmill, Galloway Sawmill and Stella Jones Pole Plant in Galloway could be affected

South Country forestry workers are expected to strike for the first time in 32 years after collective bargaining talks between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Interior Forest Labour Relations Association hit a logjam.

Approximately 875 Kootenay workers could walk off the job as a result of the impasse, affecting forestry operations across the region, including the Canfor Elko Sawmill, Galloway Sawmill and Stella Jones Pole Plant in Galloway.

Negotiations between the USW and Interior Forest Labour Relations Association have been underway since the collective agreement covering forestry workers in the Northern and Southern Interior expired on June 30.

The union’s bargaining committee hired provincial mediator Dave Schaub late Friday night after talks between the two parties broke down.

The bargaining committee represents USW locals in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook and Prince George, including 2600 members in the south region and 2000 members in the north.

Workers in the south region were in official strike position on Wednesday morning. However, USW Local 1-405 President Doug Singer remained tightlipped on planned action.

“We’re not releasing any details to the industry at all. We’re just going to do any number of things to get the message across that they need to get back to the bargaining table, stop trying to dictate what we can or can’t negotiate and give us a real offer,” he said.

Singer, who is based in Cranbrook, said the union wants a “fair collective agreement” but there has been little movement by the industry since negotiations began five months ago.

According to Singer, it’s the first time in 32 years forestry workers have been forced into strike action.

“We have taken strike votes but we have not taken any strike action,” he said.

“Those bargaining sessions when we did take a strike vote and put some pressure on, the industry responded appropriately and we bargained a fair collective agreement each and every time.

“This time, we’re just not getting that back from the industry… they seem to think that they are in control or are going to tell us what is going to be bargained and that isn’t how this works.

“We have a relationship of working together and if they don’t want to work together then we’ll force a bargain on them.”

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

Just Posted

Fernie SAR responds to injured skier

Fernie Search and Rescue (SAR) was activated on January 27 after receiving… Continue reading

Columbia Basin Trust shuffles board, new leaders at the table

The Trust is governed by a 12-member Board of Directors

International Snow Science Workshop coming to Fernie

World leaders in the snow industry will be flocking to Fernie in… Continue reading

Teck donates land to Elkford Housing Society

The land donation ceremony took place on January 16

Fernie Hotel supports through bushfire fundraiser

Sunday Funday at The Fernie raised thousands for Australian Bushfire Relief On… Continue reading

VIDEO: Canada’s first presumptive case of coronavirus officially confirmed

Both patient and wife arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Police search for man who went missing from Vernon hotel

Jay Rosenberger, 38, was last seen Friday

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

After four sexual assaults in the same B.C. park, RCMP ask women not to walk alone

Four sexual assaults took place in Glen Park over two months

BC Place lights up in purple and yellow to honour Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash

Whistleblower says Iranian-Americans questioned at Peace Arch crossing were targeted

Immigration lawyer says response from Customs Border Protection is a ‘total cover up’

Most Read