Now entering seven months, the WFP/United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 (USW) strike has taken another turn after the USW issued a press release taking local government to task for trying to meddle in the strike.
“Some coastal Mayors and Councils are assisting either wittingly or unwittingly a select number of logging contractors, who continue to beat drum for WFP in an effort to undermine workers’ rights,” stated the release. “These elected individuals need to realize the serious and negative impact that WFP’s Union busting contracting out concession, draconian Drug and Alcohol Policy and unsafe Alternate Shifts, have on the safety, security and dignity of workers and their families.”
The USW then acknowledged the stance that “community leaders like the Mayor and Council in Port Alberni have taken, which acknowledges the rights of workers to bargain their Collective Agreement, without interference.”
Brian Butler USW Local 1-1937 President stated via the release that “It is truly unfortunate that rich Executives on the Board of Western Forest Products are not accountable to communities, even though they harvest and process public crown timber. They are allowed to sit back on their high six and seven figure salaries and encourage some elected Councils and some contractors to demonize workers on their behalf, when all USW members are seeking to improve is their safety, working conditions and earn their fair share for the profits they create in the workplace.”
Port McNeill Mayor Gaby Wickstrom, who has been vocal on social media about the disastrous effect the strike has had on her town, issued a video response to the USW’s release, which can be seen below.
Wickstrom ended the video response with this quote, “We will continue to advocate for our community members, we will continue to put pressure on, and we mean no disrespect to the members that are currently on strike — if that’s what they want to do that’s fine, all we want is a resolution so that our communities can survive and thrive, that’s all we are asking for.”