Two Steelworkers Locals Merge
Prince George, B.C. – Two locals with the United Steelworkers have merged, creating one local that will serve most of Northern B.C.
Local 1-425 in Williams Lake, and Local 1-424 here in Prince George, are now one says local 1-424 President Frank Everitt ” It’s a fairly significant change for both local unions as we merge forward in anticipation of having a founding convention in June. One local l union will be covering the northern part of the province, similar to what we had 40 years ago.”
Both locals have ratified the merger.
Everitt says what is different this time around is that technology of today makes it easier for one local to represent and be in touch with members throughout the region “We had a large geographical area and without the technology we have today, it was difficult to represent our members. So at that time, it was thought smaller locals, geographically, would be easier for the membership.”
He says the various locals were dealing with the same employers, and the merger means instead of dealing with a specific issue under local 1-425, then again for local 1-424, it will streamline that activity.
There were about 1200 members of Local 1-425, and Everitt says joining forces means the new ( as yet to be named) local will have more clout especially during the current challenges facing forestry “Certainly that’s a hope we will have a better chance of dealing with the softwood lumber issue that’s coming at us, the reduced annual allowable cuts and also the merging of employers. We’ve recognized that ( merger of employers) within 424, and we’ve seen shutdowns in the Williams Lake area as well.”
The foundation convention will take place June 10th and eleventh says Everitt “There’s a lot of work to be done between now and June to make sure the process continues and gets done.” At the convention, there will be bylaws and policies for the organization put forward, and then they will likely choose a new union number “We will still be Steelworkers” says Everitt, “You know, it just might be called two thousand and seventeen.”