After an initial exchange of proposals in May 2013, the United Steelworkers BC Northern Interior Bargaining Committee (USW) and the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (Conifer) have reached a tentative agreement.
Talks have resumed in Prince George where Conifer and the USW wrestled a number of their member companies concerns—significant to Conifer companies—into a pattern that has now been bargained into four deals. Details of the agreement won’t be released until the Prince George and Williams Lake local unions have had an opportunity to first discuss the tentative agreement with their members.
A quick overview however, reveals a signing bonus and percentage wage increases with additional cash payments in the third, fourth and fifth year. It also provides rate adjustments for Log Scalers and Carpenters, help for apprentice travel and living out expenses, a dust abatement strategy that directly involves the USW in educating the industry, and a renewed attention to ensuring the facilities remain focused on adherence to safe and clean working standards.
The deal is patterned after a five-year agreement adopted elsewhere in the industry which provides pay enhancements for tradesmen, improvements to health and welfare benefits, and stabilizing the members pension plan. Also, the deal strengthens language surrounding the use of chargehands.