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

Campaign aims to raise $50K for young family of deceased Vancouver Island skydiver

James Smith, 34, died July 5 following incident in Nanoose Bay

Cowichan rallying around family after rare disorder leaves teen partially paralyzed

Sammy Dubois, 14, disgnosed with rare neurological disorder

Missing Port Alberni man found deceased

47-year-old had been missing since late June: RCMP

TV star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

VIDEO: Victoria’s Raging Grannies call for end to public funding of for-profit senior homes

Organizer says COVID-19 has made senior home issues more apparent

Sooke Crisis Centre closes doors

Services previously offered to be dispersed throughout community support groups

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

RCMP disarm man experiencing mental health crisis in Campbell River

Man pulled a knife on officers and then held it to his own throat expressing a desire to die

Saanich police identify suspect in Brydon Park assault

No charges sworn, no arrest made as of July 9

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

17-year-old girl from Nanaimo reported missing

RCMP asking for help finding Trisha Harry

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Most Read