3,000 B.C. lumber workers go on strike due to market downturn and low lumber prices

B.C. Lumber workers were forced to strike in July due to what the United Steelworkers union says the Vancouver-based company, Western Forest Products Inc. has not seriously addressed union proposals and continues to keep “massive concessions.”

The underlying issues is that the lumber market in Canada is facing a severe downturn as low lumber prices have crippled the industry, despite the government signing into the USMCA free trade agreement. 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberland operators and contractors have agreed to go on strike, in total about 3,000 forestry workers have walked off the job so far.

Canadians were led to believe that the new NAFTA 2.0 was a good deal so much so that it promoted an exhausted Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to lie on the floor of Trudeau’s office. However the reality is that the U.S. administration continues its aggressive trading practices. Not to mention any lumber trade disputes and tariffs boost U.S. wood products.

The Cowichan Valley Citizen reported that the Vancouver-based Western Forest Products Inc. announced on July 1st that the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, the union representing approximately 1,500 of the company’s hourly employees and 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberland operators and contractors in British Columbia, had commenced a strike. On July 24th, Western announced a temporary curtailment at its Ladysmith sawmill. The company has said the strike is taking place at a “very challenging time” for the industry, which is facing a market downturn due to low lumber prices and high costs because of the softwood lumber duties.

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