Workers at the Babine Forest Products Mill in Burns Lake and their union the United Steeworkers Local 1-2017 are waiting until negotiations with management can continue. (Lakes District News file photo)

Babine Mill workers, union wait for new talks with management

As a year of strikes and negotiations comes to a close, members of the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-2017 have ended their strike actions but are waiting to see when talks with management can continue.

“We’re still in a legal strike position but at this time we’re not doing any strike action,” Local 1-2017 President Brian O’Rourke told Lakes District News.

The union set overtime bans and rotating strikes at some of their mill operations, including at the

Babine Forest Products mill in Burns Lake until early November when the union entered negotiations in Kelowna with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA).

Those talks broke down, and the union resumed strikes at some operations.

LOOK BACK: Strike to continue at Babine mill in Burns Lake

The union had been in negotiations with the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (Conifer)

since May and later voted to strike in August, and gave notice it was ready to strike again in October.

READ MORE: Babine workers to take strike vote

READ MORE: Babine Forest Products’ workers in Burns Lake ready to strike

“[Once negotiations restart] we’re just hoping we can get an agreement that our membership will accept and we’ll continue on,” O’Rourke said.

“If we don’t get the employer back the table we’ll have to evaluate our next moves.”

According to a Local 1-2017 news release in November, the union was unhappy that the employer had reported record profits in the third quarter of 2018 but was unwilling to share them.

Local 1-2017 represents more than 1,500 forestry workers in northern British Columbia.

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