Vancouver, British Columbia, 13 December 2008 -- TimberWest and the United Steelworkers Union (USW) Local 1-80 and Local 1-363 have reached a new labor agreement that would end a strike that has been in effect since the summer of 2007. Ratification will be conducted by the USW with its membership.
“We are very pleased that TimberWest and the USW were able to agree on a new contract model that will ultimately provide for a more viable future for the Coastal forest industry,” said Paul McElligott, TimberWest’s president and CEO. “The improved contractor model, which allows for more medium-sized, long-term contractors, will put TimberWest on a more stable footing with its major global competitors in this very difficult time in the industry.”
The final agreement contains several key features:
• The new contractor model allows the company to subdivide operations to medium-sized, unionized contractors working on TimberWest’s land base.
• The subdivided contracts will be for five-year terms.
• A signing bonus for qualified contractor employees and for qualified engineers and foresters.
• The agreement acknowledges TimberWest as a timberland management company, not an operating company.
• All outstanding grievances, including the defamation law suit between TimberWest and the USW, have been resolved.
TimberWest believes this agreement provides a more manageable, workable, and viable system for contractors that will continue to protect the rights of the United Steelworkers, create the ability for more operators to enter the marketplace, maintain environmental performance, and improve overall safety.
“The Coastal forest industry continues to be in a period of crisis and this agreement will help us to emerge stronger,” said Dave Whiteley, vice president of Timberland Operations. “This new agreement represents a simplified model that allows for safe, competitive, and stable logging operations.”