Workers representing USW-1-1937 are on strike after negotiations broke down with Western Forest Products. (Kaboompics, Pexels.com)
A little more than a week into the labour dispute between the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 and Western Forest Products, the BC Federation of Labour has issued a “hot edict.”
A hot edict puts economic pressure on Western Forest Products and the BC Federation of Labour’s more than 500,000 members are standing in solidarity with the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 during this work stoppage.
BC Federation of Labour President Laird Cronk says the workers work hard and after Western posted nearly 70 million dollars in revenue last year, and the CEO had an annual salary of two million dollars, they are rewarded with concessions.
“You get to collective bargaining and the thanks that the workers get for that is concessions,” said Cronk. “They (Western) want to eliminate their current pension plan, they want two-tiered wages for new employees, they want to rip up local agreements that have been in place for decades, that deal with all sorts of important, agreed to provisions between the workers.”
Cronk added, “Clearly we need to find a way to get back to the table, respect these workers, take the concessions off the table, and find a negotiated settlement that works for both sides and that respects them, their families, and the communities they live in on the coast.”
The BCFED President is calling this work stoppage an “employer-initiated” dispute and said the half a million union members across the province have the backs of the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 union members through this hot edict.
“The federation of labour and its affiliates (500,000 strong) are standing shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the United Steelworkers in this labour dispute,” said Cronk. “The hot edict is part of that solidarity where we’ve asked the affiliates and the members of the affiliates not to handle wood products, declare them hot with Western Forest Products on the coast. We’ll continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder until this dispute is resolved and these workers are treated with dignity and respect.”
Cronk said despite posting profits of $74.4 million and $69.2 million in 2017 and 2018 respectively, Western is threatening to eliminate the existing pension plan, implement a two-tiered system for new employees, and tear up local agreements that have been in place for decades.
According to Cronk, Western’s CEO posted an annual salary in the ballpark of two million dollars last year.