Steelworkers, IFLRA Reach Tentative Deal for Forest Workers

BURNABY, BC, April 21 /CNW/ - The United Steelworkers (USW) has concluded a tentative agreement with Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) after 2½ days of B.C. Labour Relations Board mediation in Vancouver.

Both parties requested the Labour Relations Board's assistance late last week after talks broke down, resulting in the Steelworkers serving 72-hour strike notice to the IFLRA.

After nearly three days of talks, mediator Mark Atkinson found the common ground between the parties needed for a settlement. Talks concluded at 4 a.m. Thursday.

Members of USW Locals 1-405 Cranbrook, 1-417 Kamloops and 1-423 Kelowna will vote on the agreement over the next three to four weeks.

USW Wood Council Chair Bob Matters says full details of the tentative agreement will be provided to union members at a series of ratification meetings in the weeks ahead.

Terms of the four-year agreement, expiring on July 1, 2013, enhance job security by excluding foreman from performing bargaining unit work, improve health and welfare benefits, stabilize the long term disability plan, and improve contract language with regard to permanent and partial closures of lumber manufacturing operations.

In addition to general wage increases in the third and fourth year, there is a trades rate adjustment.

"While this was a long and difficult negotiation, we fully expected the IFLRA to agree to the pattern agreement model already endorsed by many USW northern interior members employed by some of the same IFLRA member companies with operations in the north," Matters says.

IFLRA represents a number of southern Interior forest industry employers.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information:

Bob Matters, 604-683-1117 or 604-996-4476


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