Princeton mill workers could hit picket line this week

Princeton mill workers could hit picket line this week

Workers at Princeton’s Weyerhaeuser Mill could be walking the picket line this week.

United Steel Workers Local 1423 announced Friday that negotiations with a mediator had broken down, and notice was given that rotating strikes were to begin this week.

Strikes were to start as early as Wednesday at 10 a.m.

“After making some very significant moves to break the logjam between the two parties, the industry still insisted on keeping concessions on the table and dictating conditions of bargaining,” said lead negotiator Bob Matters, in a press release posted to the union’s Facebook page.

Workers at Princeton’s mill, along with employees of other mills in the Southern Interior, have been without a contract since July 1, 2018. In October they voted 98 per cent in favor of a strike mandate. After a flurry of renewed talks with industry they moved to mediation last week.

Related: Negotiators head to mediation in hopes of avoiding Princeton mill strike

“It is unfortunate that the USW did not see value in continuing discussions. We were encouraged that the union appeared to be willing to engage in a mediation process in an effort to reach a fair, renewed contract,” said Jeff Roos, president of the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association, in an email to The Spotlight.

“Prior to the USW ending the mediation process, we had been making progress towards that goal.”

The IFLRA represents 10 member companies, with a total of 17 operating divisions across southern BC with approximately 2,800 employees.

A United Steel Workers Local 1-423 information bulletin, dated October 17, claimed the mill operators are asking for changes to the benefits package that include reducing name brand drug coverage and putting a cap on dental work.

The bulletin also stated the companies want more flexibility to change schedules and to eliminate overtime pay for Saturday clean up crews.

The elimination of a discipline sunset clause, extending the probationary period and eliminating the grading ticket premium were also concessions the union is resisting.

Weyerhaeuser is Princeton’s second largest employer with approximately 200 workers.

According to the USW the company posted a $255 million profit in the third quarter this year.

“Although we are disappointed the USW has broken off talks and has suggested the start of rotating job action, we would be open to returning to the table at any time to bargain a fair deal for our employees and the industry,” said Roos.

Related: Workers at BC Interior mill strike as negotiations resume in Kelowna

Related: B.C. lumber mills struggle with shortage of logs, price slump

Just Posted

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

The Eyes of the Tigers on the 2021 Beer Run on June 19. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Beer Runners take trip around local beaches and brews

Over 160 people signed up to come back after the 2020 run was cancelled

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed Eli Beauregard facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

Starting in 2022, the Columbia Shuswap Regional District is extending dog control to the entire Electoral Area D. (Stock photo)
Dog control bylaw passes in Shuswap area despite ‘threatening’ emails

CSRD board extending full dog control in Electoral Area D starting next year

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Most Read