By Defending Their Rights Workers Uphold the Dignity of Labour and Take Up Social Responsibility
Rally in Support of Coastal Forestry Workers
Hospital Workers join striking forestry workers at Western Forest Products Cowichan Bay Division
United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 has issued a call to workers and communities on Vancouver Island to rally at the offices of Western Forest Products (WFP) in Campbell River on Thursday, September 26 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The workers have been on strike since July 1 to stand up to the massive concessions demanded by the company.
The union issued its latest bargaining update on September 14, the day after the last mediation session. Several days of mediation had taken place with mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers but throughout the process the company had refused to give up its demands for concessions. On Friday, September 13, the union met with the mediators with a revised set of proposals, following which the mediators met with representatives of Western Forest Products who not only did not withdraw any concessions, or address the union’s issues in any significant way, but even withdrew two prior proposals that the union considered positive.
Bargaining Bulletin #20 from September 14, lists “the concessions remaining with no sign of movement,” including, among others:
1. Contracting out WFP operation to phase contractors…
2. Eliminating almost all Training Agreements, Local Agreements, Practices and replacing them with WFP policies that they write and impose…
3. Two-Tiered Wages…
4. RSP Plan replacing Pension Plan (still on the table even though WFP knows it is legally not possible and demonstrates their anti-union attitude).
5. Removing the Trusteed Health & Welfare Plan…
The union points out that it is clear that WFP has not wanted to negotiate from the outset: “WFP is not bargaining. They are using an American style bargaining by litigation strategy, which messages that they are interested in bargaining to the media, but are actually bent on inflicting damage to the Union and its members. “It is a strategy that will fail” according to Local 1-1937 President Brian Butler.
The union reiterates the position that the members have endorsed with their strike, that concessions will not be accepted in this round of bargaining.
The rally on September 26 is being widely promoted by Labour Councils on Vancouver Island and by union locals in health care, education and manufacturing sectors, through Facebook and other social media. The fight of the 2,300 striking members of USW Local 1-1937 in defence of their rights, their negotiated conditions and their dignity is the fight for the rights of all workers.
All Out for the September 26 Rally!