Tembec Refuses to Work with Unions to Save Mill Jobs in Pine Falls

    POWERVIEW-PINE FALLS, MB, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - Representatives of the United
Steelworkers and the Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union say
Tembec Inc. is refusing to share information on its cost reduction demands or
share any records of its efforts with other stakeholders to reduce production
costs at the company's Manitoba Newspaper Operations here. The operations,
which employ over 250 Local 3-1375 union members, is currently covered by a
collective agreement that expires on August 31, 2009.
    "Our unions are prepared to continue to bargain to find a viable
agreement that helps all parties concerned but Tembec isn't cooperative," says
USW area supervisor Wayne Skrypnyk.
    COPE Local 216 staff rep Don Talarico says it's "extremely frustrating
when employer representatives refuse to provide adequate information that
would allow us to make informed decisions."
    Instead of working with the unions, company negotiators have set an
ultimatum that workers must accept wage and contract concessions, estimated by
the unions to be well over 35 per cent, by August 31. If concessions are not
agreed to, Tembec management says the plant will not operate on September 1.
    "Tembec is trying to gut our collective agreement and, at the same time,
does not want to share how many dollars savings, per tonne, its concessionary
demands would amount to," says USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt. "This
company should also be willing to let its employees know what it is willing to
do in production and market innovation and in cooperation with the Manitoba
and federal governments, to improve sales and reduce overall costs for Pine
    The mill produces newsprint by thermo-mechanical means, which has in
recent months been put at a greater economic disadvantage by federal
government subsidies to pulp producers aimed at offsetting the advantage US
mills get under the so-called "black liquor subsidy program," Unfortunately,
Pine Falls and other mills that use thermo-mechanical pulping processes don't
    "The Steelworkers are certainly willing to help Tembec get some sort of
assistance under the Canadian program," said Hunt.
    Collective Bargaining commenced on August 13 and continued this week.

    The Steelworkers is Canada's largest industrial union with 250,000
members in all sectors of the economy.

For further information:

For further information: Stephen Hunt, (604) 683-1117, (604) 816-2554;
Wayne Skrypnyk, (204) 677-1710, (204) 232-7335

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