By COLIN STAUB
Forklift operators at a wood products distribution center voted 11-5 to affiliate with Machinists District Lodge W24 in ballots counted Aug. 16.
The Weyerhaeuser facility in Albany, Oregon, aggregates materials from production plants and ships them out to retailers. A worker contacted the Machinists earlier this year about unionizing, and the campaign launched in June. Workers wanted wage fairness. They said new hires were being offered sign-on bonuses and hourly wages equal to what current employees were being paid. Meanwhile, no raises were offered to retain longtime workers, according to District Lodge W24.
The newly formed bargaining unit includes 21 full-time and part-time forklift operators and lead forklift operators.
District Lodge W24 is running a separate, larger Weyerhaeuser union campaign at a production plant in Eugene. There, a group of 125 workers who produce engineered wood products will have union ballots counted Aug. 30.