MONTRÉAL, April 25, 2014 /CNW/ - Negotiations to renew nineteen collective agreements between Resolute Forest Products and Unifor began on Tuesday April 22, covering close to 2,000 members in Québec and Ontario. The result of these negotiations will serve as the pattern for negotiations involving another 8,000 members in the Eastern Canadian pulp and paper industry.
The last round of collective bargaining was overshadowed by CCAA (Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act) filings of the former company AbitibiBowater. In that round of bargaining, the membership made difficult choices and sacrifices that allowed the company to restructure and form Resolute Forest Products.
National President, Jerry Dias, made it clear that Unifor members' past decisions were in the best interest of their future. "The employer has now returned to stronger financial performance with ongoing operating profits generated by the work that our members do," said Dias.
"It is time the workers who create the profit and gave up so much are recognized," said Pete Jones, Bargaining Committee Ontario Spokesperson.
"We want Resolute to be a profitable company, we want to be a part of that and we want to share in the financial turnaround. It's time to give back," said Martin Lavoie, Bargaining Committee Québec Spokesperson.
To create a secure future for Unifor members and the local communities, significant reinvestment in operations is needed. In the longer term, Canada needs smart and innovative policies that will promote a thriving forestry sector, secure needed capital investments, ensure long-term access to appropriate hydro electricity, properly manage the forest resources and meet a high standard for environmental stewardship. Unifor is calling on the Federal government to re-establish a National Forestry Council, in partnership with other levels of government.
Negotiations are scheduled to continue through to May 3 in Montreal.
Unifor was founded Labour Day weekend 2013 when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged. With more than 305,000 members, Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector.
For further information:
Renaud Gagné, 514-916-9364 - Unifor Assistant to the Quebec Director
Martin Lavoie, 418-293-6354 - President Unifor Local 375 -Quebec
Mike Lambert, 905-351-1709 - Unifor Director of Forestry
Pete Jones, 705-232-0409 - President Unifor Local 90 - Ontario