Benefits for striking Western Forest Products workers on Vancouver Island could be disrupted at the beginning of September, according to the company and union.
United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 employees have been behind picket lines since July 1 and the company has maintained benefit payments to striking workers, but Susan Dolinski, Western’s vice-president of corporate affairs, said that is contingent on payment from the union, which it isn’t receiving. In an e-mail to employees, the company said it is not obligated to provide benefits when a collective agreement is not in place.
“So far, they’ve made no commitment to pay that, so we’ve fronted the cost, frankly, for the union for the last two months while we awaited payment,” said Dolinski. We also felt the need that as we approach September, we really needed to notify people that this could come to an end if they don’t pay.”