Curtailments, Closures, Job Action at British Columbia Sawmills

Curtailments, Closures, Job Action at British Columbia Sawmills

Fast on the news last week that the respective bargaining committees, for workers and employers, were making progress and a deal seemed imminent, this weekend came word of possible more continued rotating strikes for British Columbia sawmills.

According to the United Steelworkers, contract talks have broken down with the Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA), an organization that represents forestry employers, said Global News Saturday. The United Steelworkers represents approximately 2,600 workers in southern British Columbia, according to union Local 1-423 Kelowna.

The bargaining committee represents USW locals in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, and Prince George, including 2,600 members in the south region and 2,000 members in the north.

USW workers in the south region have been in legal strike position since Nov. 3.

South region workers will be in official strike position on Wednesday morning, November 21st, at 10 a.m.

According to the Columbia Valley Pioneer also Saturday, operations in the East and West Kootenay that may be affected by the action include the Interfor Castlegar Sawmill, the Canfor Elko Sawmill, the Canfor Radium Sawmill, Canfor Woodlands (Cranbrook Garage, Logging Trucks and Skookumchuck Chipper – but not the pulp mill), the Galloway Sawmill, Stella Jones Pole Plant in Galloway, and the Louisiana Pacific LVL/Plywood Plant in Golden.

Approximately 875 Kootenay workers may be affected.

Further to last week’s round of sawmill closures and curtailments (please see story here: https://madisonsreport.com/2018/11/16/west-fraser-permanently-reduces-sawmill-production-canfor-and-conifex-curtail-sawmills/ ), Monday morning Conifex Timber announced it is temporarily curtailing its operations at one of its British Columbia sawmills for two weeks.

Conifex says high log costs and current lumber market conditions forced its hand. This will reduce the company’s output in British Columbia by 15 percent for the quarter.

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