Believing that they have the USW backed into a corner, the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) has decided to ignore the progress agreed upon in the northern interior pattern and has instead offered the Union an inferior third-rate final document. After inviting the Union to resume bargaining in late October, the southern interior company association has now—after only a few days of meaningful bargaining—turned their backs on the Union’s attempt to meet and maintain the northern interior pattern agreement.
Surprisingly, this third-rate employer position is endorsed by the same IFLRA members Tolko Industries and West Fraser Mills who consider the pattern fair for their northern interior employees but sadly, too good for their southern interior counterparts. After implementing the deal in their northern operations, these companies are now moving towards building a better economic future and benefiting from their expanding market share–obviously enjoying their spoils in the north while sniffing at the requests for the same fair deal in the south.
The USW notes that the last and final proposal from the IFLRA did not address existing alternate shift scheduling which the IFLRA shockingly claims their employees are quite happy to accept, no retro-active pay for Tradesman and Power Engineers as a result of the IFLRA choosing to go last in bargaining, a rejection of the health and safety proposals, and less severance pay than what is required under BC law.
In addition to dismissing the Union proposals for fair treatment for Union members in the south, the IFLRA is demonstrating contempt for all their employees by having the gall to tell the BC Interior Bargaining Committee that they understand the needs of their employees far better than their Union.
Because of these unacceptable actions by the employer association, Local Unions in the southern interior will be seeking a mandate from their members.
Source: USW BARGAINING BULLETIN #40 - November 17, 2010