VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Oct. 31, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Western Forest Products Inc (TSX: WEF) (“Western” or the “Company”) announced today that the Company has invited the United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 (“Union”) to join a binding arbitration process with independent mediators Vince Ready and Amanda Rogers. Active negotiations between the Company and the Union have stalled and no future mediation dates have been scheduled at this time. Progress was made on several proposals during mediated talks this month and the Company remains available to resume discussions at any time.
“Our employees, contractors, their families, our customers and operating communities are all counting on us to resolve the labour dispute,” said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western. “While we were encouraged by the progress we made during previous mediated talks, with no future dates scheduled, this step demonstrates our commitment to getting employees back to work and products to our customers.”
The strike, which commenced on July 1, affects all the Company’s United Steelworkers certified manufacturing and timberlands operations in British Columbia, impacting approximately 1,500 of the Company’s hourly employees and approximately 1,500 employees working for the Company’s timberland operations and contractors.
About Western Forest Products Inc.
Western is an integrated forest products company building a margin-focused log and lumber business to compete successfully in global softwood markets. With operations and employees located primarily on the coast of British Columbia and Washington State, Western is a premier supplier of high-value, specialty forest products to worldwide markets. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.1 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing facilities. The Company sources timber from its private lands, long-term licenses, First Nations arrangements, and market purchases. Western supplements its production through a wholesale program providing customers with a comprehensive range of specialty products.
This press release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements under the applicable securities laws. Readers are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking statements and can be identified by the use of words such as “will”, “may”, “expect” and similar references to future periods. Although such statements reflect management’s current reasonable beliefs, expectations and assumptions, there can be no assurance that forward-looking statements are accurate, and actual results or performance may materially vary. Many factors could cause our actual results or performance to be materially different, including strike activity, the inability to predict the outcomes of any such activity, the inability to predict the outcome of mediation or arbitration, the timing it may take to resolve a labour dispute, a change in the Company’s financial situation, general economic conditions, and other factors referenced under the “Risks and Uncertainties” section of our MD&A in our 2018 Annual Report dated February 12, 2019.
For further information, please contact:
Vice President, Corporate Affairs
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer