LONGVIEW, Wash. — Over 1,100 lumber workers struck Weyerhaeuser operations in Washington and Oregon Sept. 13. Four International Association of Machinists union locals organize workers at four sawmills, two log export facilities, two log truck operations and seven logging camps. Pickets are up at six of the sites 24/7.
“The key issues in the strike are fairness and respect on the job,” Brandon Bryant, president and directing business representative of IAM District W24, told the Militant. “We are fighting corporate greed. The company set new records for profit in three of the last four years. Trees don’t make wood — we make wood out of trees. We log, load, haul and cut.
“They propose we pay a premium on health care, which we have never done. And it is a minimal health care plan,” he said. “And their wage proposal doesn’t meet the rising cost of living. We deserve to gain, not lose.”
Weyerhaeuser is the second-largest softwood lumber company in North America, and the largest in the U.S.
Bryant said economic questions are being bargained together for the four locals, which have 14 separate contracts that govern work rules and other noneconomic matters.
None of the company’s mills are operating, and workers aren’t crossing the picket lines, he said. “A few contract workers went in and got their tools with our permission and left.
“We are getting a lot of community support. I tell people if they’re hungry, go to the Raymond picket line. They have so much food,” Bryant added. He and other unionists at the strike headquarters here said they have received solidarity from the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, United Steelworkers, Teamsters, Oregon Education Association, Oregon Nurses Association, Service Employees International Union, the plumbers union and an array of area elected officials. “The Longshore union has been great. They offered the kitchen at their hall for our use,” he said.
ILWU Local 21 here fought a long and bitter strike 10 years ago against EGT Development, which tried to operate nonunion on the docks, right next to the Weyerhaeuser facility.
Show your support! Join the picket lines. Send messages of support and donate food and supplies at the locations listed at www.iamw24.org.