Community comes to support Weyerhaeuser's striking workers
October 13 - As of Oct. 7, the IAMAW District W24 bargaining committee stated, “Over 86% of our membership voted (over 1,000 people), and the company’s Amended Best and Final proposal was, again, overwhelmingly rejected by over 90%. Your bargaining committee is very proud of your strength, solidarity, and stamina in this fight we are in. We Are Standing Strong.”
Weyerhaeuser workers have been on strike since Sept. 13, after union members and their employers failed to reach an agreement over “basic union principle fairness.” This was after Weyerhouser reported record profit last year but asked its senior workers to make wage and benefit concessions, after previously negotiating with Northwest Machinist members in August 2018.
The IAMAW statement continued, “We continue to hear how important not paying for healthcare premiums is from our members, along with no loss of the bonus week of vacation for our members. This is not the time for cuts. The company has been told this, over and over, but they just don’t seem to get it.”
Overall, the workers' strike has ceased lumber production in various Pacific Northwest locations, including two production mills in Longview, Wash., and Cottage Grove — costing Wayerhouser somewhere in the neighborhood of $800-$1,000 per minute. Timber carriers are sitting at sea, partially loaded, with logging trucks and equipment at a standstill. Log yards are seeing very little activity, mainly with nonunion workers that are also honoring the picket line.
The bargaining committee reported that they had another opportunity to negotiate with Weyerhouser Oct. 7.
“We are prepared to continue your fight and put in as much hard work as possible to get you something worthwhile to consider,” the committee said. “Your support is inspiring, and let us continue to prepare for the worst, and hope for the best.”
Community members have given an outpouring of support to the striking workers, including local restaurants like El Rincon Del Taco and Urban Kitchen, who brought out their grill and served the picket line with lunch, boosting morale and energizing the workers.
Joe Bethke posted on Facebook to thank the eateries and other locals. “This community is awesome. You guys rock. Thanks so much. Go support our local businesses also.”
On Saturday, Oct. 15, there is a planned potluck at Opal Whiteley park at All American Square at 5 p.m., where people are encouraged to bring a dinner dish to striking workers. Volunteers for clean-up are also needed. A benefit on the same evening at the Axe & Fiddle is planned to begin at 6 p.m., with speakers, discussion and music.
After five weeks, workers' health care has expired, contracts unrenewed and bills continue to loom for those taking part in the strike.
Weyerhaeuser Company is one of the world's largest private owners of timberlands. In 2021, it generated $10.2 billion in net sales and employed approximately 9,200 people who serve customers worldwide, over 1,100 of which are on strike.
In a press release from Sept. 28, it was announced that Weyerhaeuser “will release third quarter 2022 results on Thursday, Oct. 27, after the market closes. The company will then hold a live webcast and conference call the following day, on Friday, Oct. 28, at 7 a.m. Pacific, to discuss the results.”