Forest union seeks new approach to bargaining

    MONTREAL, Feb. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - With their collective agreements set to
expire April 30th, members of Canada's largest pulp and paperworkers' union
from mills in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic are inviting pulp and paper
companies to come to the table with a "new approach".
    Local representatives from the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers
Union of Canada, representing some 15,000 workers, have just concluded a
three-day meeting in Montreal where they discussed strategy and chose a
pattern company - AbitibiBowater - for this round of pattern bargaining. The
union is seeking a three-year agreement.
    "The renewal of the labour agreements at this crucial time will not be
traditional bargaining, but an opportunity to provide labour relations'
stability and enhanced productivity...," says a statement prepared by
    "CEP will continue to address the survival issues that all companies face
and negotiate a responsible industry-wide agreement that is fair for all
companies, but we expect our employers to join with us in an effort to protect
jobs and to save our industry...
    "CEP invites AbitibiBowater and all Canadian pulp and paper companies to
come to 2009 negotiations with a new approach. We believe firmly that jobs and
mills cannot be saved by attacking workers' wages and pensions, or by breaking
the common industry standards that have been established by our pattern
bargaining system. We propose a three-year agreement with labour stability and
productivity increases. We hope for negotiations in a constructive atmosphere
that will reassure all stakeholders and find collective solutions for
companies and workers to survive the recession."
    CEP President Dave Coles says the union is putting the industry on notice
that it must start "thinking bigger".
    "The economic crisis opens up an opportunity to change old ways of
thinking that do not work anymore," he says. "We must explore every angle to
save jobs and mills, and stop the roll backs of our wages and benefits. But if
this industry thinks the solution is self destruction, dead communities,
unemployed workers and rolling back our standard of living - I've got news for

For further information:

For further information: Dave Coles, (613) 299-5628

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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada

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