MONTREAL, May 9, 2014 /CNW/ - A tentative agreement was reached
yesterday between Unifor and Resolute Forest Products. If ratified,
this agreement will become the pattern agreement for the pulp and paper
industry in Eastern Canada. This is the first major round of bargaining
for Unifor since its creation.
This four-year contract is the culmination of more than two weeks of
intensive bargaining in Montreal. "We are pleased with this outcome. In
the past, our members have helped keep this company afloat, and now
that the economic context has improved, it was time for them to make up
some lost ground and ensure the security of their jobs. And that's what
we were able to obtain," stated Unifor national president Jerry Dias.
Ratification meetings are set to be held in the coming weeks, with the
results to be revealed at the end of the month. In the meantime,
information on the content of the agreement will not be disclosed in
order to give members an opportunity to react.
These negotiations with Resolute will help establish a pattern agreement
for approximately 10,000 Unifor members working in over 40 plants
across the pulp and paper sector in the eastern part of Canada. "This
bargaining had to include 2 things, no concessions and economic gains
in recognition of the sacrifices our members made in the past - we
were able to achieve both. I am very proud of what our committee was
able to achieve on behalf of our membership" said Mike Lambert, Unifor
Director of forestry.
It should be noted that, in 2010, at the height of the economic crisis,
the parties were negotiating in a context where Resolute (at the time
AbitibiBowater) was under the protection of the Companies' Creditors
Arrangement Act (CCAA). The workers were forced to make numerous
concessions in order to maintain jobs and save their defined benefit
Today, with the major gains won in this agreement, the outlook for the
future is brighter. "The pulp and paper industry is not dead. It is
undergoing a profound change, and we have to make sure that it can
renew itself by developing new products and markets," commented Renaud
Gagné, assistant to the Quebec director.
Nearly two years ago, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union
of Canada (CEP) and the Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) began the process
of establishing a new union. Unifor the union was formed on August 31,
2013 at a founding convention in Toronto. Representing over 305,000
workers in Canada, Unifor is the largest union of workers in the
country's pulp and paper industry.
For further information:
Mike Lambert - 905-351-1709
Renaud Gagné - (514) 916-9364
Marie-Andrée L'Heureux, (514) 916-7373