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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stop checks, searches of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opposers unlawful: Watchdog

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs file complaint

Dozens march for MMIGW at third annual event in Terrace

Family members and friends of victims joined the walk on Feb. 14

Wet’suwet’en pipeline supporters speak up

“Protesters get one side of the story and they stand up with their fists in the air.”

Groups in Terrace receive grants from logging profits

Money comes from the city-owned Terrace Community Forest fund

Regional ringette team off to the BC Winter Games

Players come from Terrace and Houston

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Petition seeks to remove local police department from Lindsay Buziak murder case

American woman starts online petition in hopes of helping Buziak family

Health officials confirm sixth COVID-19 case in B.C.

Woman remains in isolation as Fraser Health officials investigate

Study says flu vaccine protected most people during unusual influenza season

Test-negative method was pioneered by the BC Centre for Disease Control in 2004

Saskatchewan and B.C. reach championship round at Scotties

British Columbia’s Corryn Brown locked up the last berth in Pool B

B.C. lawyer, professor look to piloting a mental-health court

In November, Nova Scotia’s mental-health court program marked 10 years of existence

COLUMN: Not an expert on First Nations government structures? Then maybe you should calm down

Consider your knowledge about First Nations governance structures before getting really, really mad

One dead in multi-vehicle collision involving logging truck on northern B.C. highway

DriveBC says highway expected to remain closed until 8 p.m.

B.C. teacher gets 15-year ban after lying about having sex with just-graduated student

Teacher had been dishonest with the B.C. Commissioner for Teacher Regulation

Most Read