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Northern BC Sawmill Workers Forced to Wait on New Deal as Strike Mandates Hit Further South

Negotiations between Conifer and the United Steelworkers Union representing sawmill workers across Northern BC have cooled for the time being.

However, the action is starting to heat up further south according to 1-2017 Local President Brian O’Rourke.

“The three mills in the southern interior took strike votes with the membership and ended up with a 98% strike mandate from their members and currently have it in their back pocket today as we go back to the table with IFLRA in Kelowna.”

He says there are three members of the Conifer negotiating committee also sitting with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association making it impossible to be at the table at the same time.

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“We are currently at the table with the IFLRA, once we strike a deal or an impasse with them then hopefully we will return to the table with conifer.”

The union represents 13 sawmills in Northern B.C. including Tolko in Quesnel and Williams Lake, the West Fraser planer mill in the Lake City and Dunkley Lumber.

It also includes operations in Prince George, Houston, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Fort St. John and Mackenzie.

This includes over 1,500 forestry workers.

(Files from Brendan Pawliw with MyPrinceGeorgeNow)

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