Striking forest workers Chris Walling and Dan Gabrielson from Western Forest Product’s Saltair mill in Ladysmith took their message to the streets of Duncan in October. (File photo)

Community stepping up to help striking Cowichan workers through Christmas

Account set up at Island Savings

Businesses and individuals in the Cowichan Valley are rallying to help local members of the United Steelworkers, who have been on strike since July 1, and their families have a festive Christmas season.

Doug Irving, a realtor with Re/Max of Duncan, said there are 520 Steelworkers in the union’s southern local impacted by the long strike at Western Forest Products’ operations, and many of them probably need some financial help getting through Christmas.

Irving, who grew up in Chemainus, said he was a Steelworker when he was younger and worked at the mills in Chemainus and Duke Point.

“I know a lot of guys on the line in local mills, and I’m hearing that some of the workers are worried about finances during Christmas,” he said.

“I was just going to buy turkeys myself to hand out to some of them, but I realized there was a lot of interest by other people out there to help as well, so I thought I’d get others involved.”

RELATED STORY: TALKS BETWEEN WESTERN FOREST PRODUCTS AND UNION BREAK DOWN

Irving said an account has been set up at the Island Savings and donations can be made at any branch in account #2739340.

He said that the plan is to use the money raised to buy gift certificates at Thrifty Foods to hand out to the workers.

“So far, Re/Max of Duncan, Thrifty Foods, the Cowichan Valley Citizen and Island Savings are helping with the cause, and I’m hoping other businesses and the general public will help out as well,” Irving said.

“We hope this will brighten some Christmases this year.”

RELATED STORY: STRIKING FORESTRY WORKERS TAKE TO THE STREETS IN DUNCAN

Approximately 1,500 of WFP’s hourly employees who are members of the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937, including hundreds at WFP mills in Cowichan Bay and Chemainus, and 1,500 employees working for the company’s timberlands operators and contractors in B.C., commenced a strike on Canada Day.

The latest bargaining talks broke down last month, with no new talks scheduled.

The Steelworkers have stated that its members, who voted 98.8 per cent in favour of striking, started the job action because the company has not seriously addressed union proposals and continues to keep “massive concessions” on the bargaining table as both sides try to negotiate a new collective agreement.

The company has said the strike is taking place at a “very challenging time” for the industry, which is facing a market downturn due to low lumber prices and high costs because of softwood lumber duties.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cowichan Mountie cleared of wrongdoing after woman’s arm broken during arrest

Police were called around 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, 2019 to remove a “severely intoxicated” woman

CVRD calls for continued COVID-19 vigilance, asks visitors not to come to Valley

With warmer weather, Easter holidays, district fears residents may become lax

Weather forecast for the Cowichan Valley sunny and mid-teens

Lots of sun expected over next two weeks

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

List of cancelled Cowichan Valley community events

An ongoing list of events that have been cancelled in the Cowichan Valley due to COVID-19

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

VIDEO: More than 85 people displaced by Campbell River apartment fire

Traffic is being diverted around Dogwood Street and 9th Avenue

Thieves steal $5,000 worth of cigarettes and candy from semi trailer in Nanaimo

Culprits hit truckload in shipping company storage yard on Old Victoria Road on Monday

Most Read