Wood Business

Features Mills Sawmilling
2015 Kenora sawmill start-up

Aug. 13, 2014 - After seeing a successful re-start of the Ear Falls Sawmill last week, Unifor has now reached a long-term contract with Kenora Forests Products (KFP) to re-start sawmill operations by the beginning of 2015. The new deal will also facilitate millions of dollars in capital investment for modernizing the mill and installing an additional saw line for expanded lumber production.

Stephen Boon, Unifor National Representative, said, "a large amount of time and energy went into negotiating this deal and now the only remaining hurdle to resuming sawmill operations in Kenora is final Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) approval of the mill's wood supply. Kenora supported two sawmills and a large pulp and paper mill prior to 2005, so we are confident the MNR will have little trouble ensuring Kenora Forest Products secures the necessary wood supply crucial for restoring operations at one of the city's three closed mills.

Boon said, "Kenora has been particularly hard hit by massive forestry job losses over the last decade and this new mill re-start deal promises to restore hundreds of direct and indirect jobs to the community while also providing key monetary and language improvements for over 100 unionized mill employees. Trades pay will reach almost $36/hour with production pay averaging close to $27/hour in the final year of this new agreement."

Boon concluded, "a successful sawmill re-start is not only good news for the company, our members and the city of Kenora, but also for members of the area's Aboriginal community. In this new deal, Unifor and Kenora Forest Products committed to ensuring the area's Aboriginal groups also share the benefits of a re-opened sawmill by establishing a 30% employment target for Aboriginal participation in the mill's workforce."

- Deal starts in Fall of 2014 and runs until December 31, 2020
Wage Increases – 18% over 6 years
September 19, 2015 - 3%
September 19, 2016 - 3%
September 19, 2017 - 3%
September 19, 2018 - 3%
September 19, 2019 - 3%
September 19, 2020 - 3%

- $3.65/hour immediate raise to $30/hour for certified trades
- $840 per worker increase in employer annual pension contributions
- one additional floating holiday
- $.15 increase in shift differential up to $.75/hour during term
- $400 annual tool allowance for trades
- improved language related to benefits, sick pay, seniority, recall, bereavement, bumping and contracting out
- commitment to promote 30% employment target for Aboriginal members in sawmill operations

For more information, contact Stephen Boon, Unifor National Representative-Dryden, at (807) 323-0093.

August 13, 2014  By  Amie Silverwood

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