Collins Pine workers vote to strike
Representatives of the Carpenter’s Industrial Council Local 3074 met Sept. 19 in the Almanor Recreation Center in Chester for the purpose of offering crewmembers an explanation to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (labor agreement) proposed by the Collins Pine Company and the agreement proposed by the Union Council.
Mike Wood, the business representative for Local 3074, explained the parliamentary process of the meeting and verified that the members did participate in what is termed a “strike vote”.
“During the meeting the members are advised of what the company wants to settle the agreement. It is then up to each member to decide whether or not the terms are acceptable and, do the members feel strongly enough about their position to take a strike vote,” he said.
He then said that the Local 3074 and Council explain in detail what the company wants in the final agreement.
He was also very clear that there is no plan at this time for the workforce to walk out at this time.
“What the strike vote does is clearly state that the members feel very strongly about their disagreement of the company’s proposal. It also allows Local 3074 and the Council to return to the negotiation table and tell the company their workers disagree with the proposal strongly enough to strike.” “A strike vote doesn’t change anything it just heightens the emphasis to go back to the collective bargaining table to resolve a fair and equitable contract,” Wood said.
“If there were a plan, I would go contact the membership about how we could safely take the plant down, including the co-generation plant with no loss of equipment.
“The plan would include the date and time of the walk out and who would walk the picket line.
“Negotiations will continue until there is no resolution. At that time a plan would be developed to strike,” Wood added.
Continuing, he explained the complicated process.
“There are three primary participants, the Local 3074, the Council, which is the next higher level of the union and the Collins Pine Company.
He said Local 3074 works primarily with issues such as working conditions specific to the plant site.
The Council works on the industry level with multiple companies of which the Council has membership.
“The Council works to ensure parity among benefits and working conditions,” Wood said.
At this point in the negotiations he said there are many issues rolled together, issues he said could be resolved in one meeting.
“At this point we are down to the core. We have already had many meetings and have resolved many non-economic issues,” Wood said.
However, he also said he does not expect there will be many more meetings and spoke of tolerance.
“It’s a matter of good faith. As long as both sides see progression we will continue to meet.
He described a strike as the worst case scenario and said it is something that neither the workers or the company want to see happen.
He then emphasized, “We, strongly believe the company’s proposals are unacceptable at this point and the membership said so loud and clear (with their vote). “
At this time the core Wood spoke about includes agreement about rights to recall after layoff or medical leave, wages and health care.
Wood did not elaborate further and details of the sensitive negotiations were not discussed.