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.
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.
“[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.