Friday, December 19, 2014

Start-up deal inked at Kenora sawmill

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

“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’ approval of the mill’s wood supply,” noted Unifor national representative Stephen Boon.
“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,” he noted.
Boon said Kenora has been particularly hard hit by massive forestry job losses over the last decade.
“This new mill re-start deal promises to restore hundreds of direct and in-direct jobs to the community while also providing key monetary and language improvements for over 100 unionized mill employees,” he remarked.
“Trades pay will reach almost $36/hour with production pay averaging close to $27/hour in the final year of this new agreement.”
Boon added a successful sawmill re-start not only is good news for the company, Unifor 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 of 30 percent employment target for aboriginal participation in the mill’s workforce,” he said.
The deal takes effect this fall and runs until Dec. 31, 2020.
Key terms include:
•wage increases of 18 percent over six years (three percent per annum;
•$840 per worker increase in employer annual pension contributions; and
•one additional floating holiday.

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