By DON McINTOSH
Not content with record profits totaling $2.6 billion last year, lumber giant Weyerhaeuser is asking its Oregon and Washington workers to accept vacation cuts, raises that don’t keep up with inflation, and health insurance premiums for the first time.
Members of Machinists District Lodge W24 overwhelmingly rejected what Weyerhaeuser called its “final” contract offer, and authorized a strike. More than 80% of members cast ballots, which were tallied Sept. 2. It wasn’t a bluff. Just after midnight Sept. 13, 1,100 Weyerhauser workers walked off the job, shutting down company operations throughout the Pacific Northwest—four sawmills, two log export facilities, two statewide log truck operations, and seven logging camps. Twenty-four-hour a day pickets are under way in Aberdeen, Longview, and Raymond, Washington, and Coos Bay, Springfield, and Cottage Grove, Oregon.
“All our members want is their fair share of the profits they earned for the company, keep up with the cost of living, and make the gains that a good employer should offer, in light of the success they have reaped off the labor of their employees,” said District Lodge W24 directing business representative Brandon Bryant in a statement to the Labor Press.
The strike involves Machinist Woodworker locals W130 in Centralia, W536 in Longview, W246 in Springfield, and W261 in Coos Bay. They represent sawmill workers, log yard scalers, equipment operators, mechanical loggers, log truck drivers, maintenance, mechanical, and electrical workers at 15 Weyerhaeuser sites.
At press time, the two sides were looking to schedule another negotiating session Sept. 16.