Monday, April 4, 2011

USW DISAPPOINTED WITH IFLRA ROADBLOCKS

USW DISAPPOINTED WITH IFLRA ROADBLOCKS DESPITE BARGAINING PATTERN GAINS

Despite a number of IFLRA road blocks that brought bargaining to a halt late Friday afternoon, the USW BC Interior Bargaining Committee pushed away from the negotiating table knowing that they have moved their bargaining pattern significantly closer to the Southern Interior. The USW is very disappointed that a tentative agreement was not reached this week but is somewhat satisfied that some of the heavy lifting has been completed.

The USW BC Interior Bargaining Committee is unhappy to report that the IFLRA is continuing to drag their feet and hold on tight to some very restrictive proposals. The IFLRA has decided to try and instruct the union on how to conduct their union business by proposing restrictions to the number of members a local union can—with notice—take off the job to attend shop steward and/or health & safety schools. Surprisingly, the IFLRA has even proposed to address our need for improved health & safety language by restricting union access to information during serious incident investigations—an obvious reaction to the recent events in the news. Sadly, the hours of work section on alternate shift scheduling is yet to be resolved as well.

In an attempt to keep bargaining alive however, the USW was successful in convincing IFLRA members companies to meet with the local unions in an attempt to resolve their outstanding local union issues before bargaining resumes. A number of other pattern issues remain unresolved and in spite of the setback on Friday afternoon, the Parties have scheduled another negotiating attempt for April 13th.

The IFLRA represents a number of major southern interior companies such as Tolko Industries Limited, Tembec Inc., 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, 2009.

Source: USW BC BARGAINING BULLETIN #44 - April 2, 2011

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