Interior forestry workers ratify five-year contract

It was approved by United Steelworkers Local 1-417, which represents workers in Kamloops, Kelowna

  • Jun. 19, 2019 4:52 p.m.

Forestry workers have ratified a new five-year contract amidst various closures and layoffs at area sawmills.

The agreement is for five years, with about two per cent increases every year, retroactive to July 1, 2018.

It was approved by United Steelworkers Local 1-417, which represents workers in Kamloops, by a margin of 84 per cent.

Locals for the Kamloops, Kelowna and Cranbrook areas were tabled a final offer from the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA). Though the offer wasn’t signed off on by the union’s provincial bargaining committee, it was put to membership for a vote.

The new contract will expire on June 30, 2023.

Multiple forestry companies have announced closures and layoffs recently, citing a lack of timber supply, high log costs and weakening lumber markets in the decisions.

West Fraser will permanently close its Chasm sawmill north of Clinton, eliminating 176 jobs, and cut a shift from its 100 Mile House mill in the third quarter of 2019, affecting 34 employees.

That news followed an announcement from Canfor earlier this month that it will shutter its Vavenby mill, east of Clearwater and about 90 minutes north of Kamloops, costing 178 people their jobs.

In May, Aspen Planers announced it was cutting 50 employees from its Merritt operation.

In a bargaining update announcing the new contract, USW 1-417 president Marty Gibbons said union leaders are working with government and industry to find solutions to the “tremendous pressures our members and B.C.’s Interior forest industry are facing during this difficult time.”

Gibbons did not immediately respond to KTW for comment.

USW Local 1-417 represents forestry workers in areas including Kamloops, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, Merritt and Clinton.

READ MORE: Southern Interior forestry union, mill owners return to bargaining table

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

PET OF THE WEEK: Teddy wants a quiet home of his own

Older cat enjoys evenings spent binge-watching Bonanza

Fill a bag and help those in the South Okanagan in need

The annual B.C. Thanksgiving Food Drive takes place this week in Penticton and Summerland

RDOS board remuneration, expenses come to $500,000

Costs presented in Statement of Financial Information

Summerland Ornamental Gardens holds fall plant sale

Event will be held Saturday, Sept. 21

Chilliwack woman wins right to medically assisted death after three-year court battle

Julia Lamb has been the lead plaintiff in a legal battle to ease restrictions on Canada’s assisted dying laws

NDP, Liberals promise more spending, while Tories promise spending cuts

Making life more affordable for Canadians a focus in the 2019 election

Virtue, Moir stepping away but give fans in Okanagan a chance to see them skate

Scott Moir and Tessa Virtue will be performing on Oct. 6 at the South Okanagan Events Centre

UPDATE: Police probe third threat against a Kamloops high school in eight days

Police have not released any further details into what the threat includes

Charges dropped against Mountie involved in shooting death of Surrey man

‘I feel like I’ve lost Hudson all over again,’ says mom

UPDATE: Missing North Okanagan man found

55-year-old located safe and sound after initially reported missing Sept. 4

B.C. Interior caribou protection area big enough, minister says

Proposals sparked protest in Kootenays, Williams Lake region

Two B.C. women selected to compete on ABC’s The Bachelor

Mykenna Dorn and Alexis Thind will compete for bachelor Peter Weber’s heart

Update: Okanagan Costco may be on the move, council to hear plans within 6 months

Costco has submitted plans to move to a newer Kelowna location

Most Read