NEGOTIATIONS END IN KELOWNA – MEDIATION LOOMING
Talks between the United Steelworkers and Interior Forest Labour Relations Associations (IFLRA) have stalled in Kelowna and BCLRB mediation looms ahead.
Negotiations ended yesterday afternoon when the IFLRA tabled a weak response to the union’s proposal for settlement. While the BC Interior Bargaining Committee felt the two parties were actually close, the IFLRA focused on hairsplitting agreed-upon positions and managed to crush the bird-in-hand with a proposal that offered very little of what the union considers progress.
With USW members becoming more restless, the BC Interior Bargaining Committee have stepped away from the bargaining table and will be seeking a mandate in order to bolster the committee’s voice when negotiations resume. However, in a late afternoon move the IFLRA informed the BC Interior Bargaining Committee that they will be seeking the assistance of the BC Labour Relations Board in order to bring the union back to the table through official mediation.
In the meantime, the three local unions in the southern interior will be asking their members to provide the BC Interior Bargaining Committee with a mandate by conducting a strike vote over the next week. The bargaining committees are scheduled to meet with a Mediator at the BC Labour Relation Board in Vancouver on Tuesday, November 19th.
The IFLRA represents two major southern interior companies Tolko Industries Limited and Weyerhaeuser Canada Limited. United Steelworker members employed by these companies — and a number of other smaller southern interior enterprises — have been without a collective agreement since June 30, 2013.