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Sun, Oct 1, 2023 01:16
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Management Side
Weyerhaeuser, union leaders reach tentative agreement

SEATTLE (From news reports) -- Striking woodworker union members reached a tentative agreement with Weyerhaeuser on Friday after weeks of picketing, which could secure the largest wage increase for employees in the timber company's history.

Workers from the 14 Weyerhaeuser mills across Oregon and Washington are scheduled to vote on the agreement by Thursday evening, said Brandon Bryant, the district business representative for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Woodworkers District Lodge W24.

The IAMAW represents about 350 Longview workers.

Bryant said the exact wage increase -- which could be the largest in company history -- will be publicly released after union voters make their decision over the course of this week.

"It really seems more like a compromise," Bryant said. "We do feel this is the best deal we can get on the table, but we had to make some concessions."

In an emailed statement, Weyerhaeuser's Public Affairs Manager Mary Catherine McAleer said the company is hopeful a final deal will be made soon.

"On Friday, our team reached a tentative agreement with the union negotiating committee, and they intend to take the offer to a vote with members this week. We are pleased with this development and are optimistic that we'll come to a resolution soon."

Weyerhaeuser's workers have remained on the picketing lines since Sept. 13, the first strike in 36 years. Union members demanded family-wage increases as well as better health benefits.

The negotiations since workers first began picketing have led to what Bryant said is a somewhat satisfying compromise, and the final decision now remains up to union voters.

This agreement up for a vote not only secures higher wages but also confirms that workers will not see an increase in their health insurance premiums, he said.

But the tentative contract, which came after at least four bargaining sessions, did not secure everything the union wanted to give employees, he said.

The agreement came after union members "stepped up," Bryant said. Many felt strongly about making a higher income that could support their family, as well as having a clear way to carve a career path within Weyerhaeuser.

"We are coming out of this even stronger than we started ... We are better prepared to stand together if these issues come up again," Bryant said.

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