Boise Cascade busts Carpenters Union campaign in Medford

By Don McIntosh

A union campaign among 375 workers at a pair of southern Oregon plywood mills ended in a crushing union election defeat. The Dec. 20 vote, which came after Boise Cascade fired half a dozen outspoken union supporters, was 61 in favor of unionizing, and 279 against. More than half of the workers had signed union authorization cards as of Nov. 25, when the union asked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to hold an election.

Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters has filed at least eight separate charges with the NLRB challenging the firings and other alleged violations of federal labor law, such as supervisors asking workers how they’d vote.

The company fought the union effort even though about one fifth of Boise Cascade employees are union-represented. Nine collective bargaining agreements cover roughly 1,350 Boise Cascade workers.

The union campaign at Boise Cascade’s plywood mill in Medford and its laminated veneer lumber mill in White City was begun by the Carpenters Industrial Council, a nationwide union representing workers in plywood mills and cabinet manufacturing. Last April, locals of the council were merged into regional councils of the Carpenters Union. For the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, that meant over 4,000 new members in 13 locals in six states.

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