Boot allowance an issue as Weyerhaeuser Mill employees remain without a contract

A recent labor deal reached in the north will not affect negotiations here, says union

Employees at Weyerhaeuser Mill in Princeton are still without a contract, and negotiations between labor and management have again come to a standstill.

Jeff Roos, president of the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association, said owners “[remain] prepared to return to the bargaining table in an effort to conclude negotiations…currently no further dates have been agreed to.”

Mill workers have been without a contract since July 1, 2018. They voted throughout the region in favor of a strike mandate last October – with 99 per cent of Princeton workers supporting the move.

While rotating strikes took place within the local in December, as well as in the north, they did not affect Weyerhaeuser.

RELATED: Princeton mill workers could hit picket line this week

The employees are represented by United Steel Workers Local 1-423 Kelowna. The union’s president posted to Facebook to update members about negotiations that took place in January.

“Although significant movement was not achieved, the IFLRA did back down from their position that retroactive wage increases would only be paid if an agreement was ratified by December 31, 2018. They also backed away from their concessions to the Health and Welfare plan and made a small improvement to shift differential.

“However the parties remain apart on wages and the industry’s insistence that Tuesday-Saturday clean up at straight time become part of the collective agreement. The industry also refuses to address our boot allowance proposal or implementation of the Aboriginal Stat language, should it be declared by the federal government.”

Last week a tentative agreement was reached between the Council of Northern Interior Forest Industry Relations (CONIFER) and the union representing workers there.

According to the Kelowna Local, that agreement will not set a pattern for, or impact negotiations in the Southern Interior.

One day mill strikes across B.C. Interior begin – Princeton workers ready

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andrea.demeer@similkameenspotlight.com

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