Vancouver Island forestry workers now voting on ending strike

Families in Port McNeill are facing mounting financial pressure as the strike between unionized forestry workers and Western Forest Products nears the five-month mark. (CTV News)

Thousands of striking forestry workers will cast ballots over the next two days in a vote that could mark the end of a historic labour dispute.

The United Steelworkers union representing thousands of Western Forest Products (WFP) employees has been engaged in a nearly eight-month strike with the company. 

USW Local 1-1937 president Brian Butler would not comment on the voting process, but did tell CTV News Vancouver Island that his bargaining committee is recommending members accept the deal. 

On Monday, a tentative deal to end the strike was reached between the union and WFP, meaning a vote in favour of the agreement by union members would end the bitter dispute. 

Forestry workers will cast ballots at polling stations in Port Alberni, Ladysmith and Powell River on Thursday. On Friday, union members will vote in Port McNeill, Gold River and Campbell River. 

Ballots will be tabulated through the night and a decision could come as early Saturday morning, according to the union.

Efforts to end the strike ramped up significantly this month after the province appointed a special mediator to expedite negotiations between the two sides.

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