United Steelworkers (USW) members have begun a 24-hour rotating strike at Tolko’s White Valley veneer plant near Lumby.
The picket line went up at 6 a.m. Monday.
“Bargaining with the employer broke off, we were in a legal strike position and we began a series of rotating strikes last week in Grand Forks and Castlegar,” said Pat McGregor, president of USW Local 1-423, who joined members on the line Monday. “Heffley Creek (near Kamloops) is also off today. It’s rotating mill-to-mill. We’re asking all of our members to honour the lines, and we’re trying to get a point across to the employer.”
There are 1,800 members in USW 1-423, with about 100 employed at the Tolko White Valley plant.
The job action is the first such move in the forest industry in the local in 32 years.
It was the first job action planned among the southern Interior locals after talks broke off with a provincial mediator in late November.
The last collective agreement between the two sides expired June 30.
“They want to lock us into a long-term deal, we’re looking for our fair share and a fair deal for our members,” said McGregor.