Striking United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 workers, including Roy Cardinal, front, picketed along Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo on Friday. The Western Forest Products mill workers have been on strike since July 1. (KARL YU/News Bulletin)

Striking Western Forest Products mill workers await word on potential mediation

Union head says Saturday meeting with mediator and company determines Sept. 13 mediation attendance

With a work stoppage entering its third month, striking Western Forest Products mill workers rallied in Nanaimo on Friday.

Workers represented by United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, including those from Western’s Duke Point sawmill, began striking on July 1 and Stephanie Empey, Duke Point mill strike captain, said they moved pickets to Terminal Avenue in Nanaimo to raise more awareness.

“A lot of people don’t even realize why we’re on strike or that we’re actually on strike,” said Empey. “We just want to let people know that we are on strike and we’re still fighting.”

Empey said the union is taking issues with concessions being proposed.

“There’s more than 20 concessions that Western has put in place,” said Empey. “They’re trying to remove some of our benefits, they’re trying to remove our pension … [and] seniority rights. They’re trying to implement a new wage for new workers. There’s a lot.”

RELATED: Striking mill workers could lose benefits

RELATED: Island Western Forest Products workers on strike

Susan Dolinksi, Western Forest Products’ vice-president of corporate affairs, said a date to meet with Vince Ready, a noted mediator, has been scheduled for Sept. 13. The company is looking forward to getting back to the table and is focusing its energy on the meeting, she said.

However, the union said that date is dependent on “significant movement being made by [Western] to facilitate the desire for a meeting.” Empey said the union does want to meet for mediation, but not under current conditions.

“The union’s position right now is until they’re ready to move these concessions they’ve got on the table, we’re not going back to mediation,” said Empey.

Brian Butler, USW Local 1-1937 president, said the union is waiting to hear back from Ready, who will meet with Western on Saturday. What transpires there will determine whether the union will be at the table on Sept. 13, Butler said.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Karl on Twitter and Instagram

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

Just Posted

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Reconciliation requires that all parties have a voice

Pipeline protests by the hereditary chiefs and their supporters have legitimacy, says letter writer

Oak Bay wins Vancouver Island basketball championship in Nanaimo

Third-place NDSS will get to challenge second place Claremont for a berth in provincials

Nanaimo drag queen Rick Meyers receives Victoria drag group’s highest honour

Queen City Sisterhood to bestow ‘sainthood’ upon ‘the divine’ Vicki Smudge

Qualicum Beach approves Pheasant Glen zoning amendment

Majority of residents who spoke at public hearing endorsed proposed amendment bylaw

Make your house a home at Nanaimo spring home expo

Building renovation and decor show taking place at Beban Park till Feb. 23

HIGHLIGHTS: Day one and two at the 2020 BC Winter Games

Athletes had sunny – but cold – weather to work with in Fort St. John

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Council approves two retail cannabis stores for Ladysmith

Their applications are now in the hands of the provincial government

Court awards Nanaimo woman $300,000 after crash exacerbates her fibromyalgia

Judgment follows 2015 motor vehicle accident on Turner Road

Affordable seniors housing complex pitched for Nanaimo’s hospital district

Seafield Crescent complex would include two five-storey buildings

Exclusive: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

Anderson says she can pay her own bills. Peters denies making comments suggesting she can’t

Suspect steals seaplane, crashes into another in Vancouver habour

Police responded to the incident at 3:30 a.m. on Friday

Most Read