PORT MELLON, BC, July 23, 2015 /CNW/ - The unexpected closure of the
paper production operations at the Howe Sound Mill owned by Paper
Excellence could cost more than 130 jobs, says Unifor Local 1119.
"The announcement was a shock to us all," said Unifor Local 1119
President Don Rheaume. "We're very disappointed and will work hard to
help our members who are displaced by the closure."
Rheaume says the union will be working with Paper Excellence to
establish a Labour Adjustments Committee to mitigate the impact on the
mill's workers. He said that he hopes to secure severance packages,
early retirement packages, and re-training opportunities for those
"The management has indicated that there are many options on the table,
and we're going to explore all of them," said Rheaume.
The Howe Sound Mill near Gibsons, BC also operates a power plant and
produces pulp. Paper Excellence says that the timing of today's
announcement is related to the dwindling supply of water in Lake Seven,
which feeds the mill's paper, pulp, and power operations. By closing
the paper functions as soon as possible, the company hopes to stretch
the water supply for pulp and power to avoid temporary closures of
those sections of the mill.
"My heart goes out to the members who have contributed to this mill for
so long," said Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director. "That community
will miss those good jobs."
Affected members of Unifor Local 1119 will continue to work for the next
60 days and can potentially take a transfer to one of the other three
pulp mills that Paper Excellence owns in BC.
Financial planning advisors will be on site to assist workers with the
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing
more than 305,000 workers. It was formed Labour Day weekend 2013 when
the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and
Paperworkers unions merged.
For further information:
please contact Unifor Communications Representative Ian Boyko at 778-903-6549 (cell) or Ian.Boyko@Unifor.org