Weyerhaeuser forestry workers on strike over wages

Employees working for logging company Weyerhaeuser in Oregon and Washington are on strike, citing low wage increases and high health care premiums.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents more than 1,100 Weyerhaeuser employees, said employees walked off the job on Tuesday, KOIN 6 News reported.

Negotiations for a new trading agreement with the Seattle-based company have been underway since this spring.

An overwhelming number of workers reportedly voted to reject the logging company’s latest offer on August 19, with the union saying the proposal was “far from what our members wanted or deserved”. Union members voted to strike soon after.

“All our members want is their fair share of the profits they have made for the company, keeping up with the cost of living and realizing the earnings that a good employer should offer, in light of the success that ‘they have reaped through the work of their employees,’ the union said in a statement.

Wage increases have been insufficient given that the company made record profits in 2021, according to the union. Additionally, employees would have to pay premiums for their high-deductible health care plans for the first time in decades, the union said.

Denise Merle, senior vice president and chief administrative officer of Weyerhaeuser, said in a statement that after the company introduced its latest leader, unionized workers at multiple sites in both states went on strike.

“While we are very disappointed with their decision to step down, we are committed to supporting our employees and to negotiating in good faith with union representatives,” Merle said.

A union representative told the media that negotiations are expected to continue on Friday.

The company is one of the largest manufacturers of wood products in the United States and owns millions of acres of woodlots.

This story was originally published September 13, 2022 2:55 p.m.

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