Mediated bargaining breaks down for Western Forest Products workers

Photo: Debra Brash, Times Colonist

Western Forest Products announced Tuesday that talks have broken down in mediated bargaining that had resumed Dec. 12 with the striking United Steelworkers Union.

Mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers were asked last week by Western to get involved.

No future mediation dates have been scheduled.

A strike involving 3,000 coastal forest workers represented by the United Steelworkers began July 1. The strike affects Western employees and contracted workers at six Island manufacturing plants and timberlands throughout the coast.

United Steelworkers president Brian Butler said last week that the union had been requesting a return to the bargaining table since talks had broken off in late November.

The total number of forest workers off the job reached about 5,000 when Mosaic Forest Management, which does forest management for TimberWest and Island Timberlands, curtailed its harvesting operations on Nov. 25.

Times Colonist