Princeton mill workers in strike position

Workers at Princeton’s second largest employer are in a position to strike, as of Friday.

According to United Steelworkers plant chairman Barry Ovington, workers at Weyerhaeuser voted overwhelmingly in favor of a strike mandate, but he’s not expecting there to be a serious interruption in work.

“There will not be a complete shut down that’s for sure,” he said. “I don’t believe that could happen. Common sense will prevail.”

Ovington predicted, at most, there were would be rotating one-day strikes at some point until there is an agreement.

There was 99 per cent approval for the mandate at the Princeton mill, and a 98 per cent approval from across the affected mills in the region, he added.

Weyerhaeuser employees and other forestry mill workers have been without a collective agreement since July.

Ovington declined to name the specific issues holding up an agreement, but did say “there are sticking points. Let’s leave it at that.”

The strike vote will help to leverage the union’s position at the negotiating table, he added.

Negotiations resumed Tuesday between all parties.

In an email to The Spotlight Jeff Roos, president of the Interior Forest Labor Relations Association representing a number mills, declined a request for an interview.

“As this week we continue to be actively engaged in negotiations with the United Steelworkers, we would prefer to not make comments to the media.”

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