Weyerhaeuser strike reaching potential end?

By Sarah Brown
Lebanon Local

International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge W246 (IAM) President Tom Thede reported Monday, Oct. 24, that it (along with two federal mediators) has reached a tentative agreement with Weyerhaeuser following day-long negotiations on Thursday.

More than 1,100 employees on the West Coast halted production at two log-export facilities, two log truck operations, seven logging camps and four sawmills on Sept. 13. Workers at the firm’s Lebanon site finished their fifth week of a strike Wednesday, Oct. 19.

The contention centers around an age-old dispute: what employees describe as a request for a living wage and reasonable benefits from a multimillion-dollar employer.

“We were able to make what we felt were improvements on the proposal from the company,” Thede said. “We as a bargaining committee felt that this is the best that we can do at this time. The mediator told me that he felt we squeezed every dime out of the company we could get at this time.”

Employees will vote this week on the proposal. If it’s denied, Thede believes that ongoing negotiations could “go south.”

“So far the feedback from the membership – down here, anyway – is pretty favorable,” he said.

Founded in 1900, Weyerhaeuser, a Washington-based real-estate investment trust and one of the world’s largest private owners of timberlands, has about 130 locations in the U.S. and Canada, with 11 in Oregon, including Lebanon and Albany.