Federated ratifies deal

Forestry: Plywood plant continues to hold its own.

Despite dour conditions for B.C.’s lumber industry, things are relatively upbeat at Federated Co-operatives Canoe operation.

The positive vibe is due in part to the recent ratification of the collective agreement between Federated and the roughly 220 employees represented by the United Steel Workers Local 141.

Local 141 president Marty Gibbons says negotiations, ongoing for the past two years, concluded with an agreement that sees workers receive significant improvements to language within the agreement, benefits and pay increases of two per cent this year, retroactive two July 1, and another two per cent increase next year.

They will also receive a $500 signing bonus effective immediately, and an additional one in two years.

Federated also came to the table with $1 million for severance pay for 34 senior employees who stopped working with the closure of the  sawmill four years ago.

“It’s not very often I commend a company, but Federated Co-op came to the table with $1 million and I believe they’re trying to do what’s right… I actually think they went pretty far and we’re pretty happy with it,” says Gibbons.

And what did Federated get in the agreement? Darrell Embley, vice-president of forest products, says there were some language changes from the industry pattern used as a template in negotiations, that were tailored to create a “made-in-Canoe” agreement. The end result is that Federated has certainty that when contract negotiations come up again in 2013, there should be no labour disruptions.

“But you know, here, the relationship that we have with our employees has been excellent,” says Embley. “The morale is good. We have jointly addressed issues and significantly improved the performance of this plywood plant. The sawmill is a different story, but the plywood plant has performed exceptionally well and we continue to improve.”

Embley says he’s not surprised by the overwhelming endorsement of the agreement, noting nobody was interested in seeing labour disrupted.

“In this economy, our profitability is marginal as are all the forest companies virtually across North America,” said Embley. “Now is not the time to be demanding or looking for significant increases in wages and benefits.”

Gibbons was also see thrilled to see the agreement ratified given that Federated had put the Canoe operation on the market for sale. But Embley indicated there’s little likelihood of that happening as there’s little money in the industry for expansion of operations.

That said, he notes Federated is now in a unique position in that it is not losing money and, with the exception of a scheduled shutdown, no work hours have been missed.

“So it’s much better than a lot of our competition that we know,” says Embley. “Our efforts have allowed us to continue to operate and my objective here is to keep that being the case.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sicamous Eagles have late-season struggle ahead to maintain playoff hopes

A loss against the Columbia Valley Rockies on Jan. 18 put the Sicamous squad further in the hole.

House show in Sicamous a country cure for the winter blues

Space is limited for the Feb. 1 show from Dirt Road Opera.

Son of Stomp planned for July in Silver Creek

Previously the event was held in Sicamous for 30 years

Word on the street: How do you spend a snow day?

When snow cancels school and your boss tells you to stay home,… Continue reading

Sports Shorts

Keep up to date with local sporting events and news segments Curling… Continue reading

After cashing in on QB gambles, Chiefs and 49ers to clash in Super Bowl

KC beats Tennessee, San Francisco dispatches Green Bay to reach NFL title game

B.C. VIEWS: Few clouds on Horgan’s horizon

Horgan’s biggest challenge in the remainder of his term will be to keep the economy humming along

Kelowna’s Tess Critchlow gears up for World Cup at Big White

Critchlow is a professional snowboarder competing for Team Canada in the boardercross competition

Victoria family focuses on ‘letting go, enjoying time together’ after dad gets dementia

Walter Strauss has developed an interest in music and now takes line dancing classes

B.C. forest industry grasps for hope amid seven-month strike, shutdowns, changes

Some experts say this could be worse for forestry than the 2008 financial crisis

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Update: Highway reopens after crash west of Revelstoke

Drive BC also reported a vehicle incident 10 km east of Golden.

Most Read