Tentative deal reached in Western Forest Products and United Steelworkers dispute

Credit to Author: Stephanie Ip| Date: Mon, 10 Feb 2020 15:08:38 +0000

A tentative deal has been reached in the dispute between Western Forest Products and the striking United Steelworkers.

The deal comes just days after mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers re-entered negotiations after pulling out earlier in the week when they said the two sides had no chance of reaching a deal.

The pair had been overseeing negotiations between the company and Steelworkers Local 1-1937, which had been on strike for eight months. It is the longest strike in coastal forest history.

The agreement announced Monday morning is tentative, but the company said in a statement that the union had indicated it would recommend its members accept the contract.

“With the assistance of special mediators, Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, we have reached a fair and equitable agreement that balances the needs of our employees and our business,” said Don Demens, president and CEO of Western.

“This has been a particularly challenging time and I’m pleased that we were able to find common ground through the efforts of all involved.”

Ready and Rogers were sent back into the dispute on Thursday when Labour Minister Harry Bains re-appointed the pair as special mediators in the collective bargaining dispute.

“This dispute has taken a huge toll on workers and their families as well as the entire coastal forestry community. We want to see everyone get back on the job,” Bains said. “As minister of labour, I have decided to appoint special mediators Ready and Rogers with additional powers under the Labour Relations Code to help the parties reach an agreement as soon as possible.”

–with files from Scott Brown