PROVINCIAL NEGOTIATING COMMITTEE STARTS PREPARATIONS FOR 2009 BC INTERIOR TALKS
On April 29 and 30, 2008, the BC Provincial Negotiating Committee (PNC) met in Kamloops, British Columbia to start preparations for bargaining the renewal of the southern and northern interior wood industries collective agreements.
The Committee was joined by the full-time officers and business agents from the five interior locals who discussed: the economic situation in the industry; the training and preparation necessary to build a communication network or Contract Action Teams (CATs); the USW’s BC forestry campaign and 10-point plan; and planning for local and provincial Wage and Contract Conference in the Fall of this year.
The group also met with Official Opposition Leader Carole James to discuss the NDP’s work on the forestry crisis and the issues facing USW members across the province. PNC (Provincial Negotiating Committee) members commented on the impact of the Softwood Lumber Agreement and BC Liberal forest policy changes on jobs and communities, as well as Forests Minister Rich Coleman’s inaction in the face of the crisis. Since 2001, at least 46 wood processing facilities have been permanently closed and over 20,000 direct industry jobs have been lost in British Columbia. During the same period raw log exports have sky-rocketed, to over 5.2 million m3 in 2007.
The Steelworkers and the PNC will be continuing to prepare for 2009 bargaining and will be sending out regular bulletins, surveys and other information to establish consistent two-way communications with the membership.