Stocks in the timber company fared poorly against competitors amid an ongoing worker strike.
Shares of Weyerhaeuser declined 1.84% on September 22. The company’s stock underperformed when compared to its competitors, as West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd fell only 0.33%, Canfor Corp. declined 1.64%, and PotlatchDeltic fell 0.86%.
The news comes at a time of constraint for the lumber company. Members of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) union have been on strike since Sept. 12. The union is calling for better wages to keep up with inflation, maintaining current vacation days, and better health care and retirement benefits.
Last Friday, Weyerhaeuser employees and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers submitted an offer to Weyerhaeuser. Weyerhaeuser rejected it Thursday.
“I don’t think we’re that far off,” Brandon Bryant, the President Directing Business Representative from IAMAW told KMTR. “This isn’t like they’re at 100 and we’re at 2,000. We’re actually pretty close. We’re just really hopeful that Weyerhaeuser realizes that and comes to us with something that’s reasonable.”
Strikers affiliated with the Springfield-based International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local Lodge W246 (IAM) said one sticking point of negotiations is wage increases over the next four years, which would, according to the union, be 7% less than the insurance rate increase the company plans over the course of the contract, among other items of contention.
Graham Trainor, president of the Oregon AFL-CIO, expressed his support for the strikers. In a statement to Oregon Business, Trainor said the Oregon labor movement supports the Weyerhaeuser workers in their strike for additional pay and benefits.
“For years these workers have been called essential, and thanks to their labor, they kept Oregon’s timber industry moving throughout the pandemic. Weyerhaeuser CEO Devin Stockfish earned lavish multimillion-dollar bonuses during the pandemic and last year was paid over $12.3 million. Meanwhile, the company insists workers must take pay cuts and cuts to benefits,” says Trainor, who called Weyerhaeuser’s actions “corporate greed.”
“The hard work by employees has made Weyerhaeuser a highly profitable company, and to ask for cuts to workers’ pay and benefits at this time is an insult. The Oregon labor movement will continue to stand in solidarity with striking Weyerhaeuser workers until management comes to the table with a reasonable offer that respects their value and contributions to the company’s success.”
Denise Merle, senior vice president and chief administration officer for Weyerhaeuser, responded to striking employees’ demands with a statement saying the company’s last offer was “very competitive” and that the company “fundamentally disagree[s]” with the way it has been portrayed to the public.
“The core of what we are offering includes competitive hourly wage increases over four years, no cuts to vacation schedules, and in fact improved vacation schedules for employees with fewer than 12 years of service,” wrote Merle.
“We have offered to pay 97% of the health care premium, with employees responsible for only 3% to start. This amounts to about $17 per month for single employees and about $46 per month for employees with families. We believe this is more than fair, and the breadth and quality of coverage available through our health care plan remains unchanged.”
Merle’s statement added that Weyerhaeuser looks forward to reaching a “successful resolution to this negotiation and returning to normal operations as soon as possible.”
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