Western Forest negotiations break down with striking workers
By CP STAFFIndustry Forestry Manufacturing Forestry manufacturng Strike union United Steelworkers USW
No future mediation dates have been scheduled after 14 hours of bargaining occurred.
VANCOUVER — Western Forest Products Inc. says negotiations with the United Steelworkers union in a long-running coastal BC strike ended without resolution on the weekend.
The company says no active negotiations are occurring and no future mediation dates have been scheduled after 14 hours of bargaining occurred on Nov. 16 and 17 supervised by two independent mediators.
CEO Don Demens says the mediators informed the company talks were over after it presented a contract offer to the union on Nov. 17.
In a post on its website late on Nov. 18, however, United Steelworkers president Brian Butler accuses the company of “game-playing” and says Western Forest left the table instead of responding to the union’s last contract offer on Nov. 17.
Demens says the company offered a five-year agreement with a $2,000 signing bonus and wage increases of two per cent per year for the first four years and 2.5% in the fifth year.
The union says it wants a four-year deal with raises of 3% in the first two years and 2.5% in the last two.
The strike which began July 1 affects about 3,000 coastal forest workers employed in Western Forest Products’ sawmills and timberlands operations.