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

Top national sparrers in Smithers

Harmony Taekwon-Do brings home hardware from national competition in Calgary.

Good fences, good neighbors

A neighbour has beef with cattle let loose on the range - including her yard.

Smithers and Telkwa get affordable housing

Smithers and Telkwa receive combined $2.7 million from Province for 27 units.

BC’s history with railways in new book

Iron Road West contains 500 historical illustrations.

Family of Cameron Kerr plead for driver to come forward

“Stand up and be a human.” Those were the only words that… Continue reading

Feds give formal notice for law to end Canada Post strike

Trudeau government ready to legislate employees back to work after five weeks of rotating strikes

Getzlaf lifts Ducks to 4-3 win over skidding Canucks

Vancouver now winless since Nov. 8

Pressure builds for B.C. to recognize physicians assistants

“We can make a difference and I think we’re being overlooked.”

Senators urge Trump to expedite congressional vote on USMCA

The 12 Republican senators are warning of the dangers of getting the trade pact approved in 2019

Bill just one tool to deter foreign interference in Canadian elections: Gould

Bill C-76 is just one means to deter outside interference in Canadian elections

Investigation into B.C. legislature officers began in January

RCMP brought in months after former prison administrator started

Legal challenge filed over high-stakes competition to design $60B warships

The federal government had originally said it wanted a “mature design” for its new warship fleet, which was widely interpreted as meaning a vessel that has already been built and used by another navy.

‘There has to be accountability’: victims of sterilization demand action

Morningstar Mercredi says she woke up from a surgery at 14 and immediately broke down when she discovered the baby she once felt inside of her was gone.

Former B.C. crime reporter pens debut children’s book

Thom Barker channels his giant dog’s phobias into theme exploring critical thinking

Most Read