United Steelworkers union ratifies five-year collective agreement for British Columbia southern interior forest products workers employed by Interior Forest Labour Relations Assn. member companies

BURNABY, British Columbia , December 19, 2013 (press release) – Five-year deal provides significant enhancements for USW members employed by Interior Forest Labour Relations Association member companies in B.C. southern interior.

United Steelworkers (USW) members employed by Interior Forest Labour Relations Association (IFLRA) member companies in the B.C. southern interior have ratified a five-year collective agreement.

Members of USW Locals 1-405 Cranbrook, 1-417 Kamloops and 1-423 Kelowna have voted by a 66-per-cent majority in favour of a tentative agreement reached Nov. 29.

The five-year deal provides significant pay enhancements for tradesmen who will enjoy a 23-per-cent wage increase over the term of the agreement.

The deal has great news for members in apprenticeships, with living-out allowances for all apprentices to be doubled to $40 a day/$280 a week, mileage to be doubled to 50 cents per kilometre to attend school and those attending school outside their community for more than six weeks will qualify for a second round trip.

The new deal also contains wage increases of 13 per cent and $3,400 in cash payments over the agreement's term.

The deal also brings improvements to health and welfare benefits, including lifetime limits for Extended Health Benefits that increase from $60,000 to $300,000 over the agreement's term. Plan C orthodontic coverage increases to a maximum $4,000 with ‘white fillings' now covered, and vision care now includes laser eye surgery and eye exams limits are increased to $400 in a 24-month period.

The B.C. Interior Bargaining Committee will bring the pattern deal to the northern interior when they continue negotiations in the new year with West Fraser and the Council on Northern Interior Forest Employment Relations (Conifer).

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