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USW begins rotating strikes at Conifer mills

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FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The union representing workers at 13 sawmills in Northern B.C., including the Canfor mill in Fort St. John says it has begun rotating strikes at those mills after giving 72-hour strike notice at the beginning of the month.

According to an update posted on the United Steelworkers Local 1-2017 website, the union’s began rotating strikes last Wednesday, when picket lines went up at the Tolko’s Lakeview mill in Williams Lake.

On October 4th, the union issued 72-hour strike notice after talks between it and the Council of Northern Interior Forest Industry Relations or CONIFER, broke down in late September.

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Local 1-2017 president Brian O’Rourke said that CONIFER continues to demand concessions from the union on a new collective agreement, including longer probationary periods, lower starting wages, and extra costs for health and welfare benefits.

The union said that as part of the rotating strike action, all other CONIFER operations are under an overtime ban, which will continue as the bargaining committee evaluates the next operation, or operations, for strike action.

As of right now, it is not clear if and/or when picket lines will go up at the Canfor mill in Fort St. John.

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