Unionized workers were on strike Oct. 17 at the Tolko Lakeview division in Williams Lake. Today, Prince George employees are on the picket line. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Prince George mill workers on picket line as northern union’s rotating strikes continue

“If you come to work and there’s a picket line, join in and show your solidarity,” says union leader

Mill workers in Prince George are striking today, with sawmill and chip plant employees unionized through United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 on the picket line.

The move is part of USW Local 1-2017’s rotating strikes, which began mid-month, with Tolko Lakeview in Williams Lake taking job action on Oct. 17.

READ MORE: USW strike action concludes after one day in Williams Lake

Union president Brian O’Rourke was at meetings in Kelowna earlier this month, sitting in on negotiations between the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) and Locals 1-417, 1-423 and 1-403, all of which represent forestry workers in B.C.’s Interior.

The purpose was to attempt to conclude an agreement, in order to set a pattern for the rest of the unions in negotiation. Bargaining for USW 1-2017 with the Council of Northern Interior Forest Industry Relations (CONIFER) broke down in August.

O’Rourke said there is no bargaining taking place this week, as locals in the Southern Interior are conducting strike votes in all their operations.

“That should be completed by tomorrow, and hopefully tomorrow night or early Saturday we’ll have those results released. Tuesday next week we are scheduled back at the table in Kelowna with the IFLRA again,” commented O’Rourke.

Regarding the negotiations he attended in Kelowna, O’Rourke said they did not reach a deal, but did leave the table with the intention of returning, which he believes is hopeful.

“Hopefully we can be optimistic we can conclude a deal in the Southern Interior, which will probably set the pattern for the province. But that will be left to be seen when we get back to the table next week.”

As for the rotating strikes at Northern B.C. mills, O’Rourke said he cannot disclose which operation might be next.

“We are not releasing information. If we did, in all reality the employer has injunctions waiting for us at the gate when we show up. So we are telling our members, if you come to work and there’s a picket line, join in and participate and show your solidarity and we’ll go from there.”

Mills in the north that come under the present bargaining include Babine Forest Products, Canfor Fort St. John, Canfor Houston, Canfor Isle Pierre, Canfor PG Sawmill, Conifex Fort. St. James, Conifex Mackenzie, Dunkley Lumber, Lakeland Mills, Tolko Questwood, Tolko Soda Creek, Tolko Lakeview and West Fraser Williams Lake Planer.

Tolko Questwood in Quesnel, however, closed operations on Oct. 14, citing high log costs and poor market conditions.

READ MORE: Tolko to curtail operations in Quesnel

Both the southern Interior and Northern B.C. agreements expired June 30, 2018.



editor@quesnelobserver.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

Topley 4-H helps Landon

This year the Topley 4-H Club will be auctioning off a steer… Continue reading

4-H club to raise money for Houston teen

The Houston teen is fighting bone cancer

Repairing airport or losing medevac?

Council to be presented with choices in the coming months

Trudeau vows to stand firm against ‘increasingly assertive’ China

China has accused Canada of meddling in its affairs

B.C. family stranded in Croatia desperate to come home

Funds being raised to bring back mom and two children

B.C. man tells judge he attempted suicide a month before daughters’ murders

Andrew Berry takes stand in his defense for December 2017 deaths of young daughters

‘Plenty of time for a deal’: Teachers’ union expects kids back in school on Sept. 3

BCTF says class size, composition at the heart of the issue

Province funds new shuttle buses for 13 B.C. senior centres

Activity, socializing helps maintain health, Adrian Dix says

Thermal imaging cameras eye Salish Sea in hopes of better detecting whales

Cameras installed at BC Ferries’ terminal on Galiano Island, and off southern Gulf Islands

BREAKING: Province approves Surrey police force

Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth green-lights city’s municipal police force

Police watchdog investigating two officers after Langley teen’s suspected overdose

According to IIO, two officers were deployed to help Carson Crimeni but did not locate him before he died

B.C. father tells judge he did not kill his young daughters

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

Most Read