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West Coast lumber workers strike.

Bargaining in the West Coast lumber industry centered on employee demands for restoration of cuts in compensation they had accepted in 1986, when the industry was in a recession. The reductions generally ranged from $1.25 to $1.65 an hour. Despite the fact that they were generally operating at a profit in 1988, the employers argued for only partial restoration of the cut, contending that they were facing increasing competition from producers in Canada and the Southern States. Usually, their contract proposals called for two lump-sum payments and one wage increase over a 3-year period. This was rejected by the labor organizations involved, the International Woodworkers of America and the Western Conference of Industrial Workers, a unit of the Carpenters union. More than 8,000 of the 38,000 sawmill and plywood employees in the region walked out after their contracts expired on June 1. The stoppage initially involved Willamette Industries, DAW Forest Products Co., and Champion International Corp. but it was later extended to several other companies.

The unions did record a peaceful settlement, with Bohemia Inc., which they viewed as a pattern-setter but other companies refused to accept the proposal, contending that it was too costly. The 4-year Bohemia contract provides for wage increases of 5 percent in June of 1988 and 4 percent in June of 1989, 1990, and 1991. It also provides for restoration of Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve paid holidays that had been terminated in the 1986 settlement, and for improvements in vacation, pension, and health and welfare provisions. The accord covers about 800 workers at six operations in Oregon.
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Author:Ruben, George
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Sep 1, 1988
Words:268
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