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Weyerhaeuser timber company employees strike over wages

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Employees at Weyerhaeuser sites in Oregon and Washington are on strike, citing low wage increases and high health care premiums.

KATU News confirmed the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents more than 1,100 Weyerhaeuser employees, said negotiations for a new bargaining agreement have been ongoing since this spring.

Employees reportedly voted to reject the timber company’s latest offer on Aug. 19, with the union saying the proposal came “nowhere close to what our members wanted or deserved.”

Union members voted to strike soon after.

The Seattle-based company said in a statement that while officials are disappointed in the decision to walk out, they are committed to negotiating in good faith.

Weyerhaeuser issued the following statement on Tuesday:

"We have been formally engaged in collective bargaining with IAM since May, and we have made several offers related to wages and benefits," says Denise Merle, senior vice president and chief administration officer for Weyerhaeuser. "After we presented our final offer, IAM workers at multiple sites went on strike late last night. While we are very disappointed in their decision to walk out, we are committed to supporting our employees and negotiating in good faith with union representatives. We are prepared to continue discussions to produce a contract that is beneficial for employees and sustainable for the company across business cycles."

The IAM also released a statement Tuesday, saying:

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"We have made the very difficult decision to withhold our labor from Weyerhaeuser, with a strike. Although we hope to continue to negotiate with the company, their delays have forced our hand to take this action. We hope to secure a fair offer that recognizes the hard work and dedication our members have given to their employer. The company has mentioned to us that they are available to meet and continue negotiations this Friday, and we await confirmation of that, and when that happens we will return to the table and bargaining in good faith.

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