Besse Forest Products contract negotiation approaches deadline

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 8:11 PM EST
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GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - Besse Forest Products and the Local 800 Union are 38 days into contract negotiations and the deadline is this Saturday.

“If we haven’t come to terms that we can live with then the contract expires and we have to make a decision as a membership what our fate is,” said Richard Shorter, IUE-CWA staff representative.

Union leadership emphasizes it does not want to go on strike but will continue fighting for fair wages and a safe working environment at Northern Michigan Veneers.

“There are numerous, in our eyes safety issues going on within the plant and we’re just trying to protect our membership,” said Nate Meyer, Local 800 president.

Besse Forest Products owns Northern Michigan Veneers.

Three weeks ago, employees rallied in downtown Gladstone to raise awareness of their negotiations. There are 38 union employees.

At that time, the Besse sign was displayed in front of Besse Forest Products. Now, that same sign is covered and there are “no trespassing” signs at the entrance.

Workers believe it’s because Greg Besse does not want his name associated with the company.

“We would appreciate any support we can get from the community,” said Shorter. “If this does come to a stoppage, which once again I’ll emphasize, we do not want, but if it does, any support from the community. Whether it be just come by and say ‘we’re here to support you’ or give well wishes.”

TV6 and FOX UP called Greg Besse and drove to where the negotiations were happening, but Besse Forest Products did not want to comment.

You can read the original story about the rally here.