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 Black Press 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.

MORE: Read the official statements from the union and the company here



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Vancouver Island drug company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit pulls application, headed to court

North Cowichan says Monday’s public hearing will go ahead anyway

North Cowichan taxpayers face 133% ‘worst case’ hike from a Vancouver Island Motorsports Circuit lawsuit

An average North Cowichan home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

Stuffed buses make transit no solution to Colwood Crawl

Woman fuming over lack of a timely commute from West Shore, BC Transit says more buses coming

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

New school for Hornby Island; $27 million in upgrades to Comox Valley Middle School

Upgrades to Lake Trail include a $1.5-million child care centre

New survey finds 4.7 million women over 15 were victims of sexual assault in Canada

Some 1.2 million men (eight per cent) report having been sexually assaulted since age 15

Concern grows as deadline looms for major downtown Nanaimo hotel development

PEG Developments say they’re pushing to break ground before Dec. 31 deadline

‘Nightmare’ Wellburns sewage flood ousts tenants indefinitely

Residents evacuated after sewage flooded basement of century-old building

Habitat for Humanity opens four homes in Comox Valley, capping record year

Area chapter finishes eight homes during one year for first time

Most Read