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Tentative deal reached in lengthy B.C. forestry strike

Striking United Steelworkers forestry workers seen on the picket line in Chemainus in January 2020. Global News

A tentative deal has been reached between Western Forest Products (WFP) and the United Steelworkers (USW) union, potentially bringing an end to a bitter months-long labour dispute.

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New plan to end Western Forest Products labour dispute – Feb 6, 2020

“Our union is extremely proud of our members’ solidarity in this extended struggle to achieve a fair collective agreement with Western Forest Products and their associated contractors,” USW Local 1-1937 president Brian Butler said in a statement.

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READ MORE: 2 days after walking away, mediators Vince Ready, Amanda Rogers hired back to B.C. forestry strike

Butler went on to say details of the tentative agreement will not be released until members have a chance to review and vote on it. The union’s bargaining committee is recommending that its members accept the deal.

The agreement comes after B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains reappointed special mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers last week after the two sides failed to get a deal done.

READ MORE: Mediators pull out of talks in bitter, 8-month Vancouver Island forestry strike

“With the assistance of special mediators, Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers, we have reached a fair and equitable agreement that balances the needs of our employees and our business,” WFP President and CEO Don Demens said in a statement.

“This has been a particularly challenging time and I’m pleased that we were able to find common ground through the efforts of all involved.”

About 3,000 employees and contractors at Western Forest Products facilities in several Vancouver Island communities have been off the job since July 1.

— With files from The Canadian Press