Members of Machinists District Lodge W24 voted by a 69 percent margin Aug. 2 to approve a new four-year contract with Weyerhaeuser. It covers over 1,100 Weyerhaeuser employees in Washington and Oregon, including loggers, road maintenance workers, log truck drivers, log yard workers, and workers at Weyerhaeuser sawmills in Longview and Raymond, Washington, and Santiam and Cottage Grove, Oregon.
District W24 Lodge Directing Business Representative Noel Willet says the new agreement secures industry-leading compensation, with across-the-board wage increases averaging 16 percent over the life of the agreement. More than 40 percent of members are in job classifications that will also get additional “bracket adjustments” of up to and over $2 an hour to keep wages competitive and attract and retain workers to the company. Current wages average above $23 an hour, with some classifications like electricians and millwrights earning around $35 an hour.
The new agreement does contain several features that members objected to. Weyerhaeuser will withdraw from the union-sponsored multi-employer health trust and instead provide health insurance through a self-insured company plan. And going forward, Weyerhaeuser will contribute 5 percent of gross pay toward a 401(k)-style retirement plan for new hires — instead of the defined benefit pension that current members are in. The company will also be reducing logging harvest levels, with members moving to other jobs or accepting voluntary severance packages. These items were sticking points that led members to reject two previous contract offers — which authorized the union bargaining team to call a strike. Weyerhaeuser improved its final offer with an additional $1.15 an hour to wages on Jan. 1, 2020, and dropped proposals that would have increased mandatory overtime and directed maintenance workers to do production work at its Cottage Grove mill.
The new union agreement runs through May 31, 2022.