Fruitvale mill workers get new contract

Mill workers can breathe easier through the holidays after USW Local1-405 signed a tentative deal with the IFLRA

While much of the news on the labour front in the area is rife with uncertainty, approximately 30 ATCO lumber employees in Fruitvale can breathe easier through the holidays.

The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1-405, which represents over 70 employees working in the Southern Interior for Interior Forest Lumber Relations Association (IFLRA) certified companies, has reached a tentative deal with the IFLRA for a five-year contract.

The two sides have been in negotiations since May to arrive at a settlement for a new contract with the previous agreement having expired in July.

USW Local 1-405 President, Doug Singer, expressed satisfaction on the new deal for the Interior mill workers.

“It’s a five-year agreement with a 13 per cent wage increase over the term,” Singer said.

“As well as a trades adjustment, improvements to pensions and health benefits, and some strong improvements to language around chargehands (non-management lead hand employees).”

Singer said the negotiations proved much more fruitful than they have for some time, largely due to an improved lumber market.

“The price of lumber is at about $380 per thousand board feet as opposed to $200 to $250 like it has been over the last 13 years,” he said. “There have been a number of factors affecting the price increase, the U.S. housing market has bounced back a bit, there have been a number of mill closures reducing the amount of lumber produced, and there are more off-shore markets that didn’t exist previously in China and other parts of Asia.”

Singer said the healthier market for lumber is a welcome change after the industry has suffered for over a decade.

“I’ve been in the industry since the ‘70s and it used to be that just about every town in B.C. had a mill of some sort,” he said. “I’ve known lots of doctors, lawyers, teachers, what have you, and most of them would say that they worked in mills at some point to help pay for their educations. Lumber used to lead the way in the province in wages and benefits. It hasn’t been that way since the ‘90s.”

According to Singer the increase in profitability in the lumber industry has provided an opportunity to make up some lost ground for employees.

“There’s been nothing in the news for years except mill closures and layoffs,” said Singer. “We just tried to get back some improvements in wages and benefits that we lost over the years.”

Just Posted

Free Family Day fun for Greater Trail

Public skating in Rossland and Trail are a few of the free offerings for families this weekend

Province announces $23 million for upgrades at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

West Kootenay-Boundary Regional Hospital District Board has yet to review the provincial proposal

Rossland library gets rave reviews on renovation

A lot of hard work led to this day, says a library board member

Tell the Times

Web Poll: Do you stay in town or leave for holidays like Family Day?

B.C. students win Great Waters Challenge video contest

Video, mural and song about saving the salmon claims the top prize

East Kootenay illicit drug overdose deaths lowest in B.C.

Local expert credits harm reduction efforts; declares support for legalization of opioids

Eight cases of measles confirmed in Vancouver outbreak

Coastal Health official say the cases stem from the French-language Ecole Jules Verne Secondary

Ontario police field complaints over Amber Alert for missing girl, 11, found dead

Some said the Amber Alert issued late Thursday for Riya Rajkumar disrupted their sleep

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

B.C. couple attacked with acid, slashed with knife in Vietnam

Warning, graphic images: Man has burns on 80 per cent of his body, slashed with knife

Northern B.C. First Nation clan says ancient tools found at pipeline work site

Archeologists from the Smithsonian Institute estimate one of the stones found dates back up to 3500 years

Names keep adding to vaccine petition started by B.C. mom

Maple Ridge mom started campaign to make vaccination a condition of attending school

Most Read