Members of the a United Steelworkers union say that 81.9 per cent of their members have approved a deal with Western Forest Products.
The vote ends the over seven month strike that has severely impacted about 3,000 coastal forest workers employed in Western Forest Products sawmills and timberlands operations in the province.
Earlier this week a tentative agreement was reached between USW Local 1-1937 and WFP, but was subject to approval. The union said the strike was over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability benefits.
“Our membership has stood up and pushed back against a company that was bent on breaking our Local Union,” said local 1-1937 president Brian Butler in a statement.
“They’ve picked the wrong fight with the wrong local union, our members have negotiated a contract that achieves many of our members goals and notably did not give Western Forest Produicts any concessions.”
According to the union highlights of the agreement include:
- 12.5 per cent increase in remaining four years and four months of a five-year agreement
- Increases to Life Insurance, AD&D, and Heath and Welfare Benefits.
- Increased Premiums for Shift Differential, First Aid Ticket Holders.
- Safety Boot Allowance introduced
- Alternate Shifting Language Improvements
- Controls on WFP’s Drug and Alcohol Policy
- Undercut Contracting Language that protects USW members working for WFP and Existing Contract Crews
- Heath and Safety Language Improvements
- Union Security Language Improvements
- Zero concessions
The union went on to say they were not able to achieve the goal of ending “what members believe are dangerous alternate shifts, [but they] did improve the dispute process by ensuring that companies must make operational trials of safer shift schedules that the union proposes.”
A small number of ratification vote still needed to be conducted in remote areas, but will not significantly impact the final percentage.
More to come