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 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

Collision at the Haisla/Kuldo Blvds. intersection Tuesday (Jan. 26). (Clare Rayment/Kitimat Northern Sentinel)
Collision at Haisla and Kuldo Boulevards

Five people taken to hospital with minor injuries

Angie Mindus photo
Clare’s Corner: A place for everything — and I mean everything

It’s amazing to see how much ‘stuff’ one can accumulate in their house over several months

(Jacqueline Sweet photo)
Jacqueline Sweet, right, at her graduation from the Bachelor of Arts at Simon Fraser University with her friend and fellow graduate, Laura Taylor.
In Our Valley: Jacqueline Sweet

Sweet said her career can feel isolating in the North, but she loves that she’s able to help people

(Cara Webb photo)
Cara Webb’s dog, Millie, who bolted during New Year’s Eve fireworks and was missing for almost a week. She was eventually found by Webb’s neighbour.
Good News, Kitimat!

Bringing some local good news to your week

Kitimat’s Gordon Wilson, who recently won $150,000 on a scratch & win ticket he bought at City Centre Mall. (BCLC photo)
Kitimat man wins $150,000 on scratch & win ticket

Gordon Wilson bought the ticket at City Centre Mall

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
30% of B.C. recovery benefit applications held up in manual review

The province says 150 staff have been reassigned to help with manually reviewing applications

Adam Dergazarian, bottom center, pays his respect for Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in front of a mural painted by artist Louie Sloe Palsino, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Kobe Bryant’s presence remains strong a year after his death

Tuesday marks the grim anniversary of the crash that took their lives

Surrey RCMP are investigating after a pedestrian was struck and killed at 183 Street and Highway 10 Friday night. (File photo)
Modelling of predicted transmission growth from the B117 COVID-19 variant in British Columbia. (Simon Fraser University)
COVID-19 variant predicted to cause ‘unmanageable’ case spike in B.C: report

SFU researchers predict a doubling of COVID-19 cases every two weeks if the variant spreads

The Brucejack mine is 65 km north of Stewart in northwestern B.C. (Pretivm Photo)
B.C. mine executives see bright gleam in post-COVID future

Low carbon drives demand for copper, steelmaking coal

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb.  THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
Canadians divided over Keystone pipeline, despite U.S. president’s permit pullback

Two-thirds of Canadians think Biden’s decision was a “bad thing” for Alberta

Most Read