No further talks between Western Forest Products and striking United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 workers are scheduled after talks broke down over the weekend. Pictured here, workers during a rally in Nanaimo Nov. 6, 2019. (News Bulletin file)

Talks between Western Forest Products and union break down

No more negotiations imminent between United Steelworkers 1-1937 and company

Western Forest Products and workers on Vancouver Island remain deadlocked in a labour dispute after talks broke down this past weekend.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 have been on strike since July 1 and according to separate press releases, the union and Western took part in 14 hours of negotiations this past weekend, with assistance from mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers. An offer was tabled by the company, but the union rejected it outright and there will be no discussions scheduled in the foreseeable future.

In a press release issued Monday, Don Demens, Western’s president and CEO, said the company offered a five-year deal, which included a $2,000 signing bonus and wage increases of two per cent for the first four years and 2.5 per cent in the fifth year. According to Demens, the company previously dropped pension plan alternatives that USW 1-1937 opposed, and further, took all remaining proposals the union had contention with off the table, including the modernizing agreements dating back to 1986, which would “support future employment.” The offer from Western is in line with other forestry industry collective bargaining agreements and provides “certainty” for stakeholders, the press release said.

RELATED: Striking WFP union workers rally in Nanaimo

RELATED: Western Forest Products’ Island workers on strike

In a bargaining update released Monday, the union referred to the company’s offer as a “bare-bones proposal” and said it doesn’t address issues such as “appropriate wages” as USW 1-1937 says its last proposal was for four years and included increases of three per cent the first two years, followed by increases of 2.5 per cent the following two.

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, told the News Bulletin that Ready and Rogers had been helping the process and progress was being made.

“Through the whole process, both sides have made changes to their bargaining positions, so we’re at a time when we’re still apart on wages, term and other benefits, but a couple of key sticking points have been their refusal to deal with our other issues related to the unsafe alternate shifts our members face on a daily basis, as well as their drug and alcohol policy, which is more designed around discriminating and targeting workers than it is on getting help for anybody with a real addiction issue,” said Butler.

He said the union is ready to get back to the bargaining table.

When asked about what it would take to get back to the table, Western Forest Products said it could only refer the News Bulletin to what was in the press release at this time.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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

Just Posted

New B.C. Cannabis Store opens up shop in Parksville

Outlet at Wembley Mall open seven days per week

Editorial: Have your say on changes to assisted dying law

In June of 2016 Canadians gained the right to physician assisted death — but there were caveats.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Supervised consumption keeps people alive

When the bureaucracy rules, personal responsibility and human decency suffer, says letter writer

Refugee experience to be explored in Nanaimo Museum exhibit

Refuge Canada to feature interactive exhibits, including an inflatable boat

Province announces more childcare spaces created in Nanaimo

Government says 20 new spaces will bring provincially funded spaces to 120 since 2018

Two cars crash in front of Nanaimo strip mall

Accident happened on old Island Highway at 9:30 a.m. on Friday

Beefs & Bouquets, Jan. 23

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com

Ucluelet and Tofino mayors call for “calmness” and “empathy” as highway closure cuts communities off from supplies

Ministry of transportation expects to open road for “essential travel only” from noon-8 p.m. Friday.

All Carlton Cards stores closing, including Nanaimo location

Schurman Retail Group stores across North America will close over the next four to six weeks

B.C. employer health tax wins ‘paperweight award’ for red tape

Businesses forced to estimate payroll, pay new tax quarterly

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

New U.S. LNG terminal near northwestern B.C. town proposed

AlaskCAN International LNG wants terminal just over Canadian border, but using B.C gas

Couple wonders who’s in a Cariboo photo that’s been hanging in their home for years

Charles and Lynn Dick believe the image was taken at the 70 Mile Road House

Most Read