Unifor members ratify new contract with Canadian Kraft
July 30, 2018 - Members of Unifor Local 1403 have voted to ratify a new three-year collective agreement with the employer, Canadian Kraft Paper (CKP).
"Thanks to the hard work of Unifor members, the CKP mill is successful and critical to the economy of this region," said Jerry Dias, Unifor National president. "CKP is a great example of how unions, employers, and government can work together to help rural economies thrive."
Local 1403 represents 200 workers at the mill. After three months of talks, the bargaining committee secured a contract that improves wages and working conditions as well as providing stability to the mill and town.
In the fall of 2016, Tolko announced it was closing the mill in December when it could not find a buyer. A U.S.-based company approached the former owners and the union and bought the mill on condition workers take a 10 per cent wage rollback. The province also approved a three-year moratorium on special payments to the pension plan as part of the sale.
Now operating as Canadian Kraft Paper (CKP) the company has reinvested in the mill and the workers have achieved record production levels. The signing bonus and two per cent increases in each of the following years of the no-concessions agreement, show a recommitment by the workers and the mill owners to the rebirth of the mill and the town.
"Unifor is Canada's foremost forestry union," said Joie Warnock, Unifor western regional director. "Forestry is a critical industry to communities large and small across the country."
Other changes include improved bereavement leave for 12-hour shift workers, a 10 per cent training premium, improved paramedical benefits, and increased safety equipment allowance. Workers studying to get trades accreditation will now receive more paid time off to write exams.
Unifor Local 342, which represents the supervisors at the mill, supported Local 1403 during the negotiations. "Solidarity among workers at the mill helped us secure a fair contract," said Unifor Local 1403 president Joel Fouillard.
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.