Weyerhaeuser members vote to Strike
The IAMAW represents over 1100 members that work at Weyerhaeuser in Washington and Oregon. This covers 14 different contracts with locations from Aberdeen, Longview, and Raymond WA to Coos Bay, Springfield, and Cottage Grove, OR. Our members are sawmill workers, log yard scalers and equipment operators, mechanical loggers, and log truck drivers, including a host of maintenance, mechanical, and electrical workers. We have been in negotiations with the company since April of this year for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that expired May 31, 2022. We continue to work under the previous agreement until the end of our negotiations, and that time may be coming very soon.
The company presented to us a Best and Final proposal for our membership to vote on August 19. With proper, timely notification of the upcoming vote on this proposal, and tackling this vote in locations over 350 miles apart, the IAM bargaining committee accomplished this vote This ratification vote, and associated informational meetings took place over the last two weeks and we tallied our memberships’ ballots on September 2. The company’s proposal did include a number of improvements (no more reduction to sick leave payouts, small shift differential increases, and other language changes) but came nowhere close to what our members wanted or deserve. We had the largest turn out of our membership for this contract vote that anyone can recall, with over 80% of our membership voting. The offer from the company was overwhelmingly rejected and our associated vote to strike was soundly passed. Issues for rejection were, substandard general wage increases, cuts to vacation, employee paying for premiums and no other improvements to healthcare, and no improvement on retirement.
In light of Weyerhaeuser gaining record profits in 2021 (source)&(source) and reporting revenue for the 12 months ending June 2022 of $10.63 billion dollars an increase of 8.28% in year-over-year earnings (source), the company fell quite short on their economic package. This economic package, which included some wage increases, also included, for the first time in decades employees paying part of the premiums for their high deductible health care plan. This may seem like the norm out in the world today, but it is something that has not happened to our membership at Weyerhaeuser. And making this change now, in light of the billions in revenue that our membership has created for this company, smacks of nothing more than corporate greed. This is not a Cadillac healthcare plan, but a basic high deductible healthcare plan and many of our members meet the maximum out-of-pocket expenses for their families in addition to the high deductibles every year. All our members want is their fair share of the profits they earned for the company, keep up with the cost of living, and make the gains that a good employer should offer, in light of the success they have reaped off the labor of their employees.
The IAM and Weyerhaeuser have worked together for decades and have always come to an agreement, since our last strike in 1986. There seems to be a change in the air at this company, as in many companies, where the numbers on the page mean more than the hands and feet that produce those numbers. The IAM went into this bargain, with the idea of working with Weyerhaeuser to help them become a more desirable employer, one that would stand out from the rest, and be one that people want to make a career at once more. This used to be the case, in the not-so-distant past. We wanted to come to an agreement that would reflect those changes and improvements that needed to happen in order to recruit and retain high-quality workers so that Weyerhaeuser can continue to make (and share) record profits. Those profits don’t happen unless the work happens, and the work only happens if our members do it. We may have to take that work away from Weyerhaeuser, in order for them to see us, see our value, see the actual people that make their profits.
President Directing Business Representative
IAMAW District W24