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Western Forest Products says contract talks with striking union have stalled

Western Forest Products has announced contract talks have ended with the United Steelworkers Union .
Western Forest Products has announced contract talks have ended with the United Steelworkers Union . WPF

Vancouver-based Western Forest Products has announced that contract talks with the United Steelworkers Union have ended after 14 hours of bargaining on Saturday and Sunday.

Western Forest Products president Don Demens says mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers told the company Sunday that talks were over.

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He said the company offered the union a five-year deal with a $2,000 signing bonus and wage hikes of two per cent for the first four years and 2.5 per cent in the fifth year.

The company says it previously dropped pension plan alternatives opposed by the union and has also dropped “all remaining proposals that the union opposed, including modernizing agreements dating back to 1986, which would support future employment.”

Demens says the company asked the union bargaining committee to take the offer to a membership vote, which was rejected, as was a request for binding arbitration.

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Nearly 3,000 employees and contracted workers at six Vancouver Island manufacturing plants and timberlands around the coast have been on strike since July 1.