British Columbia

Strike vote planned for 3,500 B.C. mill workers

United Steelworkers members in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, Merrit and Clinton say they're angry employers are asking for concessions despite record profits.

United Steelworkers members angry employers are asking for contract concessions despite earning record profits

3,500 B.C. mill workers and members of the United Steelworkers union will be taking a strike vote starting this weekend. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

Workers at mills in British Columbia's southern Interior will be taking a strike vote starting this weekend.

The vote includes about 3,500 United Steelworkers members and includes workers in Kamloops, Kelowna, Cranbrook, Clearwater, Salmon Arm, Merrit and Clinton.  

It is being held as negotiations on a new contract with the Interior Forestry Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) have stalled.

Marty Gibbons, president of Steelworkers Local 1-417, says despite record profits, employers are still demanding concessions from workers.  

"One example is that they are seeking to cap members' dental benefits for life," he said. "Another issue is that they're seeking to lock us in long term on raises we strongly believe aren't even going to meet inflation."

Gibbons says the strike vote results will be made public Oct 26.

Meanwhile, forestry workers in north central B.C. have already voted to strike.

Workers at the Lakeview Mill in Williams Lake had a one day strike earlier this week after negotiations broke down. 

With files from Doug Herbert


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