The Officers and Staff would like to welcome all delegates, members, and guests to the 10th Annual Delegated Meeting of the United Steelworkers Local 2009. This report is intended to highlight the significant Local Union activities throughout the year. It does not include all of the business conducted by the Local Union.

See pictures of this Event


In 2018 the Local Union had an average of 2,866 members which is a decrease from the prior year of 250 members. The result is a net loss of revenues for the Local Union of $50,336 to a total of $1,859,219.18. The Local Unions total expenses for 2018 were $2,157,592.37 resulting in a net deficit of $216,930.41.

Our Expenses included:

• Education Committee drafted an extensive and wide ranging plan for our membership in 2018. The Local Union spent $97,390.41 to educate our members, and the Local Union will continue our commitment to make educating our members a Local Union priority.

• The Local Union spent $22,226.60 on negotiations during 2018 compared to $32,026.35 in the prior year. The majority of these costs can be attributed to loss time wages and meals for bargaining committee members.

• 2018 was an election year for Local Union Officers which resulted in associated costs of $60,833.29

• The Local spent $13,601.97 on legal, arbitration and mediation, which was down from $79,106.33 from the previous year. With the assistance of International Staff Representatives, who do the majority of the Local Union’s arbitrations, we continue the work of handling our membership’s grievances up to and including arbitration.

• The Local continues its tradition of having two main events each year for our membership. This includes the Summer Picnic which cost $13,192.47 and the Christmas Party which cost $11,129.82. Both events are well attended by the membership, and the Officers and volunteer’s look forward to putting on each event.

• The Local also has monthly Officers meetings along with the corresponding Executive Board meetings, as well as having the three Trustees coming into the Local quarterly to check the Local Union finances. The costs for this were up in 2018 as membership engagement remains a focus, $30,675.17

To maintain and increase our services we need to grow our membership. The Local Union and District 3 have entered into an Organizing Partnership, with both the Local and District 3 committing $10,000.00 per month to organizing to actively grow the Local with more certifications. The Local Union has enjoyed some early successes in organizing and continues this priority.

The Local Union continues the responsibilities of managing the Langley building through our Holding Society. It is important to keep the building well maintained and ensure the exterior and interior are kept in good condition as this is the Local Union’s main asset. In 2018 the Langley building had the following upgrades done; the roof was refurbished, as well as having the outdoor lighting repaired for the safety of our members and tenants.

The Local has been able to renew leases for all tenants of our building and is currently at 100% occupancy including a long term lease with Sage Dental to expand and renovate units 104 and 105. Total revenue exceeded expenses resulting in a net income of $71,793 for the Holding Society in 2018.

Overall, the Local Union General Fund spending continues to exceed revenue but the Officers are reviewing ways to reduce and eliminate and deficits. The Holding Society continues to be in a strong financial position generating positive returns form the Local Union year after year.

The Local Union Officers are committed to continuously exercising transparent financial practices. By exploring every avenue in which union dues income can be more efficiently spent, we will continue to successfully serve our current membership and promote future growth in order to build organizational strength for the years to come.


USW 2009 focused its efforts on “Steelworker Education” in 2018/19 largely in two areas. First, the Local Union has set a priority on Organizing, and growing our Local Union. We began this important work with three 2-day training sessions for organizer/ organizing committee members and followed up as part of the recent Unit Presidents training with a focus on enhancing Organizing in our Local Union.

Second, our annual training sessions, Shop Steward, Health and Safety and Unit Presidents training continue to be a primary focus in ensuring that our members are able to deal with the challenges facing us in the workplace.

Just over 200 members participated this year in sessions that included:

• Unit Presidents Training

• Be More Than A Bystander

• Building an Organizing Local Union

• Safety Conference

• USW Summer School

• Organizing

• CLC Winter School

• Shop Steward Level I

• Unit Presidents Training

• Legal issues

• Internal and External Organizing

Health and Safety training will be rescheduled to follow April 28th, Day of Mourning for workers killed and injured on the job. The Local Union will also continue its participation in the District 3 Education Program, including USW Summer School and the Leadership Development Program.

We would like to thank our members who take the time to participate in our training programs, represent our membership at the workplace, and provide leadership in our local union. We are “A Union that Works”.


The forestry sector of our local union has faced many challenges in the last decade and we have seen the closure of numerous operations. The operations that are still active have seen major reductions in shifting and manpower. The majority of our sawmills run on a one shift basis with very minimal investment, even with the companies making good profits in the last two years.

The four big sawmills that operate in our Local Union are Interfor Acorn and Hammond Sawmills, Aspen Flavelle Division and CIPA Lumber. We also have numerous secondary, specialties and reman manufacturing plants.

This summer will be a very busy time for bargaining as the majority of our forestry agreements expire on June 15th 2019. The Industry has been in an upward cycle in recent years and has been reporting considerable profits, however this is often disguised prior to bargaining and the employers will soon start spreading fear of losses and closures. We have been actively surveying our affected members, preparing demands and discussing issues which will need to be addressed this summer."


One of the big issues facing our members at our two Interfor mills have been the Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy, the union has been very active in confronting the issues around this policy. We have gone to Arbitration on one grievance out of Hammond Sawmill and are eagerly awaiting the decision, there are two grievances from Acorn which we will be going in July to arbitration. The reasonableness and discriminatory nature of the testing and the Last chance/return to work agreements are the two serious aspects of this policy which we are challenging.

Aspen Planers Flavelle

Flavelle sawmill has faced its own serious challenges and was on the verge of closure last fall when the new community plan for Port Moody was approved, it caused a change in the property tax assessment for the site. The company was faced with a property tax change which would have pushed the taxes so high that tearing the mill down and leaving it as vacant land would have been the only option for the owners. The Union worked aggressively in lobbying the provincial government in getting an exemption for the site and saved our members from being put out of work. The next challenge is to resume bargaining and ratify a fair contract for our members.

CIPA Lumber

CIPA lumber is one of the busiest and most profitable operations in our Local. The mill is one of the biggest producers of Veneer for plywood, in North America. The mill runs 3 shifts and 7 days a week and employees around 110 full time members. As we ramp up for bargaining we acknowledge many of our issues including job posting, training opportunities and health and safety will have to be addressed in this round of bargaining.

Coastal Forestry Policy Change

In September the Provincial Government held the Coastal Forest Sector Revitalization Summit, meeting with all the stakeholders including Labour, for consultation and input on forest policy, President Al Bieksa was involved in the meetings with industry and the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, Hon. Doug Donaldson. Our Local sent a strong message to government that we need solutions that address log exports that affect fibre availability in our mills and we need strong incentives and disncentives that encourage investment in the BC Forestry Industry.

USW District 3 sent a delegation to Lobby the government in late September on numerous issues facing our members. Mike Duhra was a part of the delegation that dealt with forest industry issues, led by Brian Butler President of Local 1937, relaying our concerns on sustainability, revitalization, successorship and log exports.

In January 2019 the government announced to create and support good jobs in British Columbia’s coastal forest sector, the government is making policy changes to increase the processing of B.C. logs on the coast and to reduce wood waste by redirecting it to B.C.’s pulp and paper mills.

The changes, as part of the Coast Forest Sector Revitalization Initiative, were announced by Premier John

Horgan at the annual Truck Loggers Association (TLA) convention. Government is taking steps to reverse a

systemic decline that has taken place in the coast forest sector over most of the last two decades.

The Coast Forest Sector Revitalization has five main goals:

1. Rebuilding solid wood and secondary industries to ensure more B.C. logs and fibre are processed in B.C.

2. Improving harvest performance to ensure more fibre is available for domestic mills, including the pulp and paper sector.

3. Maintaining a credible auction system by taking steps to ensure bids on timber sale licences are independently made.

4. Fostering stronger business-to-business relationships between BC Timber Sales, major licensees and First Nations.

5. Restoring public confidence through amendments to the Forest and Range Practices Act and auditing the private managed forest land regime.

The goals will be implemented through a series of legislative, regulatory and policy changes over the next two

years. The policy reforms were developed after engaging with a broad cross-section of First Nations, industry

and labour over the last six months. Engagement will continue over the next few months as some policyproposals are finalized.


Organizing Report

It is no secret to anyone that the membership of Local 2009 has been on a steady decline over the recent years. At one time not that long ago we were well over 4,000 members but now due to financial pressures in the forestry industry, steel fabrication and warehousing, and manufacturing, the Local has shrunk to an average of just under 3,000 members. It is agreed that the erosion of membership is of grave concern to the health of our Union.

With this in mind the Local entered into an Organizing Partnership agreement with District 3 to help share the costs associated with organizing. Deepak Kullar from Dick’s Lumber in Surrey was recruited as our fulltime organizer. Together with Deepak, Mike Duhra and Georgi Bates the Local has been aggressively initiating talks and campaigns with many work sites. Some of our successes include successful applications for the support staff of ILWU Local 500, workers at Terrapure Environmental, and a pending application for a group of chaplains employed by correctional facilities across BC. The organizing committee has been working diligently to raise the profile and recognition of Local 2009 as a Union that people want to join.

Picnic 2018

The Local Union picnic was again held at Bear Creek Park in Surrey with well over 300 members, families and friends in attendance. The weather co-operated to allow lots of fun and games including face-painting, children’s games and live entertainment.

The food was fantastic thanks in whole to the many members of our Local that contributed to the success of the event. Everyone in attendance left the picnic with full tummies and smiles on their faces. Thanks again to the many volunteers that make this annual event a huge success.

Mark your calendars for June 15th, the date of the Annual Picnic of 2019 at Bear Creek Park.

Brunch with Santa

This past year’s Christmas event was held on Saturday December 8th. Santa entertained the hundreds of children who had the opportunity to speak to Santa and advise him of their Christmas wishes.

The over 400 parents and children were treated to a fabulous brunch that included scrambled eggs, bacon, sausages and of course the famous food of Cora Tingley. Children (and adults) were also surprised with the food option of chicken nuggets and french fries. It would be no surprise that children slept well in afternoon naps after all the food, gifts, face-painting, and time with Santa.

The huge success was attributed to all of our many volunteers. These volunteers worked many hours to ensure that everyone had a great time. On top of all of the Officers and Staff that volunteered a special thank-you must be provided to Georgi Bates and Kim Harding who handled most of the hall decorations, Kathryn Prinz, Fred Girling and Monty Bartlett for organizing the registration, and of course Randy Dillon, Moe Ghida, Nicole Smith, Hans Raagner and many others in preparing and serving the food.

Safety Council

Brian Campbell Chair of the Local 2009 Safety Council has been working hard to strengthen our joint health & safety committees throughout the Local. The Safety Council has developed a sample template that is available through our web site. It is a valuable tool that will assist committee members in addressing safety concerns at their sites and will also allow the Local to preserve precious evidence that may be used to criminally investigate the negligence of management in the case of a serious injury or fatality.

The Safety Council is organizing up to date and workplace specific training. The plan of the Safety Council was to use committee entitlement to paid training under Section 135 of the Workers Compensation Act to offset the costs of the training and allow more committee members to participate. The training scheduled for April 29 and 30th unfortunately had to be postponed due in part to BC Hydro shutting power of to our building to perform maintenance repairs. The Safety Council will be re-scheduling the training in the near future.

There also needs to be specific attention paid to the many consultations being conducted by the government and WorksafeBC that have the potential to seriously impact our members. The Safety Council is working with the Officers to develop comprehensive submissions that address changes to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation Part 16 - Mobile Equipment, and the application of Merits and Justice in decision-making."

As well the government recently announced a comprehensive review of Part 1 of Workers Compensation Act that will require a significant investment in resources to develop and respond to the opportunity to suggest progressive changes that will enhance the protection of our members and families.

Health Care Report

This year has been busy in our food services within health care. There were major renovations at Surrey Memorial Hospital which saw the addition of new FTEs. There were brief periods of temporary layoffs while the construction was taking place but now everyone, and more, is back to work. In addition, we added a new site back to the USW fold. In January 2019 the Evergreen Café and coffee shop at Langley Memorial Hospital was taken over by Compass Group and we welcomed these 12 new members to the Local. The new UP has been very active in getting to know our Local and the benefits we offer to the workplace.

In our long-term care sector we were heartened to see that the provincial NDP government tackled the issue of contract-flipping within this sector. For too long, workers’ rights were eroded when these contracts flipped from one company to another. These workers would lose their jobs when the contractor flipped; even though they would be rehired by the new contractor, they would lose any seniority rights, accrued vacation leaves, and often they would end up back on probation for a job they’d been doing for years. Now, the terms and conditions we negotiate with the company will transfer with the workers should the company lose the contract. While we are a few years before the company contractors need to renegotiate the terms with their clients, it’s a small measure of comfort that the workers will not have that job insecurity when the contract flips.

Housekeeping in the hospitals continues to be a busy sector. These workers are on the frontline of the increases to the budgets for the health authority – you can increase MRI access but if our members aren’t there to clean the rooms then you can’t provide the services that BC residents deserve. Our members work incredibly hard in challenging environments to support the health and welfare of all BC residents.

Looking forward to 2019, we will see the five collective agreements in the health care sector re-negotiated. Our members have been turning their minds to this opportunity and are looking forward to the opportunity to sit across from the Employer and address their workplace issues.


This spring/Summer/Fall will be abnormally hectic due to all of the collective agreements expiring and new collective bargaining being undertaken. In the Forestry Industry sites alone we have at least 9 collective agreements that have or will expire by June 15th.

This is the date that the Coast Master Agreement will expire and because the employer organization Forestry Industrial Relations (FIR) has in reality fundamentally ceased to exist, a new Coast Master Agreement will not be renewed. This means that all of our Forsetry Industry sites will need to negotiate stand alone agreements rather than simply use the Coast Master Agreement as the pattern.

President Al Bieksa is part of the USW Provincial Bargaining Committee and will be participating in bargaining between USW Local 1-1937 and Western Forest Products. This will be particularly useful to our members for the valuable insight regarding Forestry Industry employer proposals and responses.

The Officers, Staff and bargaining committee members are committed to effective communication throughout all bargaining sessions so that all of our members are kept apprised with the most recent developments.

Local 2009 Web Site Launch

After much work our new website is officially launched on April 27th. Not only is the style completely modernized, so is the functionality. Some of the exciting features of the new site include a Google translator that has the ability to translate whole pages into almost any other language. The new site will also feature a blog area, Sector News, and individual pages for each of our worksites that will provide access to collective agreements, contact information of the Local Union Servicing Rep, and specific bulletins and alerts.

The new web site will be an important tool in realizing the Local’s commitment to improve Local Union communication and engagement.

In closing the Officers would like to sincerely thank the membership of Local 2009 for the support, patience, unity and solidarity in ensuring we provide the highest level of representation and service to our entire membership. It is through our collective activism and commitment that makes us proud to be a member of the United Steelworkers and Local 2009.

In Solidarity;
Al Bieksa -  President
Georgi Bates -  Vice President
Scott McRitchie -  Financial Secretary
Mike Duhra -  Treasurer (Acting)
Les Veale -  Treasurer (Leave)
Alex Gendron -  Recording Secretary
Hans Raagner -  Guide
Randal Dillon -  Inside Guard
















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