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Talks resuming between Western Forest Products, union representing forestry workers

Western Forest Products and the United Steelworkers union are going back to the bargaining table.

WFP and the United Steelworkers Local 1- 1937 will meet with independent mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers tomorrow. 

The parties have agreed to a media blackout during this mediation process. 

Forestry workers have been on strike since July 1.

The job action affects all the company’s USW certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in B.C.

It’s impacting roughly 1,500 of the company’s hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberland operations and contractors. 

This is the first meeting between the two sides since talks stalled on November 18th.

The company’s last offer was a five-year deal.

It included a $2,000 signing bonus and wage increases of two percent per year for the first four years, and 2.5 percent in the fifth year.

In a release, the union says “unsafe alternate shifts still remains a major stumbling block which we hope to breakthrough in the coming mediation sessions.”

It adds that alternate shifts continues to be a key issue in both logging and manufacturing operations. 

According to the union, there have been several other outstanding issues including LTD and WFP’s Drug & Alcohol Policy which it says “target workers rather than help workers with dependency issues and continues to drive safety underground.”

The union says other include first aid and shift premium increases, establishing a boot allowance, and permanent partial closure language for phase contractors to name some.

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