Resolute talks underway
Negotiations to renew 19 collective agreements between Resolute Forest Products and Unifor began last Tuesday (April 22), covering close to 2,000 members in Quebec 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.
In that round of bargaining, the membership made difficult choices and sacrifices that allowed the company to restructure and form Resolute Forest Products.
Unifor 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,” he noted.
“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,” echoed Martin Lavoie, Bargaining Committee Quebec spokesperson.
“We want to be a part of that and we want to share in the financial turnaround,” he added.
“It’s time to give back.”
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 May 3 in Montreal.