Steelworkers in northern BC preparing for strike
By USW Wood Council
July 25, 2018 - The United Steelworkers (USW) Wood Council met for a fifth round of bargaining with the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (Conifer). Unfortunately, the employers came to the table unable to negotiate straightforward proposals.
Given the strong lumber market, the union believes the employers should come to the bargaining table prepared to address workers' issues.
"We are looking for improvements to our working conditions," says Bob Matters, USW Wood Council chair.
"The employer is unwilling to discuss the most basic proposals. Our workers are demanding changes and we will fight for them. We are bargaining for 23 different worksites and it's time to send them a message," Matters said.
The union has proposed changes to the collective agreement that include leave for members struggling with domestic violence, union representation and pension funding improvement.
"Our goal is to get a fair contract for our members," says Brian O'Rourke, president of USW Local 1-2017. "The employers are having one of the best economic years in decades and workers should share in this prosperity."
The union will be seeking a strong strike mandate from each worksite covered by Conifer. Over 1,500 workers will participate.