The Canadian Press
Published Friday, July 12, 2019 1:17PM PDT
Last Updated Friday, July 12, 2019 3:52PM PDT
VANCOUVER – The union representing as many as 3,000 British Columbia forest industry workers on strike at Western Forest Products says now that it’s willing to work with a mediator, the company has rejected the plan.
The strike began July 1 and involves the firm’s timberland operators and contractors and affects all of its manufacturing and timberland operations in the province.
Western Forest Products said after the strike began that it applied for a mediator in June to help with negotiations, but the union had not agreed to meet.
United Steelworkers local president Brian Butler says in a news release that they are ready to negotiate and well-known mediator Vince Ready has agreed to make himself available this weekend for talks.
Butler says the company’s refusal to use someone as qualified as Ready indicates it’s not serious about reaching an agreement.
A spokesperson from Western Forests Products wasn’t immediately available for comment on the union’s claims.
The B.C. Federation of Labour issued a so-called hot edict on the company earlier this week, asking its members to no longer handle Western Forests Products coastal lumber, logs and wood products.
The union says it’s on strike over the potential loss of pensions, seniority rights and long-term disability.