Steelworkers ratify agreement with Interfor

    Close vote again signals companies need to work more closely with

    BURNABY, BC, Nov. 9 /CNW/ -  Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) at
three sawmills in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley have voted to accept a
tentative collective agreement reached between the union and International
Forest Products (Interfor).
    Workers voted 52 per cent in favour of the agreement, a similar result to
the vote of USW members employed by member companies of Forest Industrial
Relations (FIR) last month. Interfor withdrew from FIR during the period of
the last collective agreement, choosing to bargain independently with the
    The Interfor agreement is substantially similar to the FIR agreement. It
provides new language on how alternate shifts can be implemented, major
improvements in safety, including contract language that ensures the right to
refuse unsafe or hazardous work.
    The three-year agreement also provides pay yearly wage increases of two
per cent, three per cent and two per cent, bringing the basic pay rate from
$23.26 to $24.92 by the third year. The Interfor agreement also includes
enhanced language to provide union members with severance pay in the case of
partial closure of any of the three Interfor sawmills.
    The narrow margin of acceptance reaffirms that BC's forestry workers
remain concerned about the future and that employers need to take the time to
listen to their employees.
    The vote ends a 16-week strike by about 500 workers at the three sawmills
- Hammond Cedar, Queensboro Division, and Acorn Division.

For further information:

For further information: Steve Hunt, (604) 816-2554; Bob Matters, (604)

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