Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Details of Company Proposal

On Sept 18, 2009,  the Company presented the Unions with the following list of proposed contractual changes they say are required in order to restart 2 of the paper machines at Elk Falls mill.  Printed copies will be available at Monday’s General Meeting.

In order to give the Elk Falls mill the greatest opportunity for a successful and sustainable operation, the following is proposed:

  • Two paper machines will restart at Elk Falls
  • A bonus plan will be developed tied to the profitability of the company to allow Elk Falls’ employees to share in the company’s positive earnings
  • Reduced manning levels and changes to operating practices contemplated during the mill’s “$80/t discussions” will be put into effect

That the following changes to the mill’s ongoing labour costs are put in place:

Wages

  • Will be frozen until April 30, 2014 at a 20% reduction from the May 1st, 2009 contract rates
  • Base labour rate will be reduced to $20.50 per hour

Premium pay

  • All regularly scheduled hours worked will be paid at straight time
  • Hours worked outside regularly scheduled shifts will be paid at time-and-one-half for all hours worked
  • Hours worked on Easter Monday, Canada Day, Labour Day, New Years Day will be paid at time-and-one-half; the three Christmas statutory holidays will be paid at double time. No call time will be paid for regularly scheduled shifts that fall on a stat holiday. New Years stat to 24 hours.
  • Unscheduled call-ins outside of regularly scheduled shifts will receive 3 hours pay or hours worked at time-and-one-half, whichever is greater
  • All other premiums for work performed during regularly scheduled shifts will be eliminated, including the 8 hour reduction in a workweek that contains a stat.

Vacation

  • Vacation entitlement for all current employees will be capped at 4 weeks.
  • Employees are not required to take more than 3 weeks vacation per year if they so elect
  • Vacation will be taken in full week blocks for day workers, 48-hour blocks for tour workers
  • All time off will be smoothed and will be scheduled for the following contract year by May 1st
  • The 10-hour “vacation bonus” is eliminated. Vacation will be paid at regular card rate.

Supplemental vacation

  • No further supplemental vacation will be accumulated.

Floating Holidays

  • Floating holiday entitlement is reduced to 2 days.
  • Statutory holiday floaters, including taking an alternative day off when a stat falls on a scheduled day off, are eliminated.

Pension

  • Employer pension contributions reduced to 6%
  • Bridge benefit eliminated.

Welfare Plan

  • All H&W benefits to 50/50 cost sharing for all current employees and future retirees

Non-Core Work

  • The management and employees of the mill are accountable for providing for the safe and cost-efficient operation and maintenance of the facilities and equipment necessary to support the manufacture and shipping of paper.
  • Activities not directly supportive of that objective such as waste management & recycling services, lawn, garden & brushing services, janitorial, street sweeping, mobile crane, sign making, sheet metal, sandblasting, painting and others, as may be identified, will be reviewed to find the lowest total cost alternative

September 19, 2009 - Posted by | - $80 Ton Updates, - Mill News

50 Comments »

  1. Interesting comments about the Catalyst Paper personal visiting Howe Sound Pulp & Paper this week.

    http://www.stockhouse.com/BULLBOARDS/SymbolList.aspx?s=CTL&t=list&f=26&l=50&c=2&r=0

    Comment by CEP member in good standing | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  2. Greetings:

    Call the date and I will show up with a picket sign. In solidarity.

    Comment by Gordon Brown | October 7, 2009 | Reply

  3. we must hold catalyst to the agreement they signed in december, and in our individual lives use whatever programs are availiable to look to, and plan for a possible future without the mill. If you have any doubts about the integrity of the company (catalyst or third ave.) you should watch the fifth estate tuesday, the 6th, it deals with how investment companies are closing plants and getting out of paying severances,and the ontario gov’t doing nothing. It’s well worth the watch…

    Comment by jim winnig | October 4, 2009 | Reply

  4. I am expressing my solidarity with the rest of our brothers and sisters in this industry by preparing my self for an education program that will allow me to gain a family supporting income.
    Faith without works is dead!
    I will stand strong.

    Comment by Ian Makus | October 3, 2009 | Reply

  5. So where is the solidarity in the industry. This is a lock out, a new form of bargaining. With everyone tied to their Collective Agreements any work stoppage can and will lead to punitive damages awarded to the companies affected.
    So we hear all the battle cries of stand strong brothers, but it is time to do more. While the rest of the Industry continues working we have lost our benefits and many have lost their EI and the rest may not have a lot longer to collect. But all we here from the rest of the western caucus is a deathly silence, of course until we (if we) sign something that is hard to swallow, then we’ll hear all the crying of how we sold out. Tell that to our kids and families that haven’t had anything other than necessities and in some case not even that for the last seven months.

    Comment by gerard | October 2, 2009 | Reply

    • Well put Gerard

      Comment by bugsy | October 3, 2009 | Reply

    • If this is indeed a lockout which it is then it’s time the other locals in the caucus stepped up to the plate and looked out for the long term of all members. Maybe it’s time for the LRB and the BC Federation of labour to take a stand as well.

      Comment by CEP member in good standing | October 4, 2009 | Reply

  6. CEP Frustrated by Moving Goal POsts

    We know that there has never been an operation saved when the workers give concessions.

    Comment by Stephen | September 30, 2009 | Reply

    • Unfortunately the above statement is incorrect. However, times were different then.

      Comment by gerard | September 30, 2009 | Reply

      • The quote was taken from context of pdf file linked 22 Sept 2009 by Mike and Ian in post.

        Earlier, I wrote in comment 24 ,”

        There must be some statistical evidence, that on survival contracts, how many of those mills are still actually running today?”

        Their statement in PDF affirms what I put out in question, so if there is “statistical evidence to the contrary,” then it would be appreciated Gerard.

        Economic opportunist time seems ripe for the pickens and what better time then to make use of the distress in the economy then to accomplish what it cannot negotiate in conduct of fair and respectful bargaining(sensing weakness in opposition). But to then, tear up agreements, disrespecting labor and negotiation.

        Whether or not concessions will be pursued aggressively by a business depends largely upon the reaction, official and unofficial, of the union leadership to the company’s initial pitch for concessions. If company officials perceive that the union leadership is sympathetic or can be persuaded, the assault will begin. Dire predictions and gloomy forecasts about the future of the business will become a constant theme in management communications to workers. Where union leaders have bought in to management’s campaign, “message discipline” from the union office will help to persuade the membership until it eventually capitulates and accepts the employer’s terms. The gloom and doom is always positioned as if it were fact although for the most part, it is highly speculative, grossly oversimplified and designed to spread fear, uncertainty and a sense that cuts are inevitable and workers should be happy to have jobs on any terms. It’s important not to fall prey to the psychological manipulation of “message discipline” or get caught up in distracting talk about unprofitable operations.See:Concession Bargaining – How Not To

        While I cannot vouch for the writers of this information above, I thought it detrimental to any position before bargaining that such information “can be useful” to help one toward understanding our depressed view.

        I would sanction our own CEP EXEC. to “deal directly” with this psychological disadvantage.

        Did the company opened their books?

        Also, to me, if a process through negotiation had been arranged to suitable conditions required by the company for start up, to only have it “again come after more” from my perspective was nothing other then the attempt to see what they can get from the appearance of the depressed economic situation(moving goal post).

        If they are entertaining start-up based on a price per ton, then by the original intend on the “80 per ton,” would have satisfied this?

        Why, they then need to be called on it?

        They are exploring the “profit margin,” while this is a “sincere effort in the survival of jobs” by honest labor to help out?” Keeping communities alive.

        It is “no coincidence in my view” that the tax based will become part of that “desire by the company” to again pursue other attempts, by devising means to increase that profit margin?

        Best,

        Comment by Stephen | October 1, 2009

  7. Greetings

    Very sobering numbers. One has a lot to consider before deciding on which direction to go. Should this go the company’s way, it has to be remembered that it took years of negotiation and sacrifice to gain these benefits. Once given back it will be a very long time,if ever, before we see these benefits again. I believe it is more likely never. The company did not hand out these benefits willingly. The workers of the day had to fight and scratch for every one of them. I personally can recall many months on various picket lines, getting $40 per week with a young family to feed. Having to start over from scratch after the smoke cleared. I would hate to think that the workers coming up in the future would have to go through that again. For something that was given back in a possibly vain attempt to save machines for which there is no demand for the product in any case. Well enough preaching and it will be what it will be and we will just have live the outcome and make the best of it. In solidarity and the best wishes for catalyst group.

    Comment by Gordon Brown | September 29, 2009 | Reply

  8. What does it mean to you!

    Since it appears that some of our “local” media has chosen to use posts and comments from this blog as the basis for their reporting, I thought I would give them an example of the financial impact of the Company’s recent proposal and what it actually means to the average employee at Elk Falls.
    The top 150 people on our seniority list have 30+ years at Elk, so it should be safe to assume that level of seniority as an average for this scenario. I’m also going to use the TMP “A” operator for my example. He is probably on the high end of the pay scale for Local 1123 members, but is very comparable (if not low) to the average for a Local 630 member working on the machines.

    A TMP “A” operator’s 2009 rate of pay is $36.85/hr. As a tour worker he is scheduled to work an average of 42hrs/week which is about 2184 hours per year (depending on where in the schedule the year started). Employees currently get time and one-half for work on Sundays and for working over 44 hours in a week. This brings the number of equivalent paid hours up to 46hrs/week or 2392 hours per year. Throughout the year there are 7 recognized statutory holidays whose premiums equate to an additional 128 hrs of paid time. That brings us to 2520 hrs/year. Finally there is a 10 hour holiday bonus which brings the equivalent number of hours paid in a year up to 2530. Multiply that by the hourly rate of $36.85 and you end up with $93,230/yr. Is it a lot of money? Yes, but that’s what the wages in our industry are, and that’s why we can afford to support the business base in Campbell River the way we do.

    Now let’s look at the Company proposal: Our tour worker is still scheduled to work 42hrs/week or 2184 hours per year. Since all scheduled hours will be at straight time there is no increase in pay for working Sundays or for working over 44 hours in a week. The 7 stats are still there, but because they no longer attract lieu time or call time or shorten the workweek, they are now represent 58 hrs of paid time. That brings us to the equivalent of 2242 hours of paid time. No more 10 hour holiday bonus, so that’s it, right?

    Wrong! There are a number of other hours the Company wants to take away from our 30-year employee. Reducing floaters from 5 down to 2 is a loss of 36 hours, and having holidays capped at 4 weeks means the loss of another 120 hours. Then losing supplemental vacation equates to another 32 hours a year. In total the loss of another 188 hrs of paid time. Some people may argue that you’re still going to get paid for it because you’ll be scheduled to work it at straight time. They can look at it any way they want. It was time you received pay for and now you don’t – it’s a loss!

    So now our operators’ equivalent paid time now stands at 2054 hrs/year for working exactly the same number of hours as he used to. On top of that the Company also wants a 20% reduction to the hourly rate they pay this employee. (2054 X ($36.85 – 20%) = $60551.92/yr)
    Base wage for TMP “A” Operator………………… $ 93230.50

    Value lost Sunday premiums and > 44hrs/wk… – 8033.30
    Value lost Holidays………………………………………… – 4422.00
    Value lost Floaters………………………………………… – 1326.60
    Value Lieu Time lost……………………………………… – 2579.50
    Value Supplemental lost………………………………… – 1179.20
    20% reduction in wages on remaining hours…. – 15137.98

    Total Reduction…………………………………………. $ 32678.58
    Proposed reduction for TMP “A” Operator…………….. 35.5 %

    Based on the Company’s proposal, our TMP “A” operators is being asked to take a reduction from $93,230 down to $60,552. That is reduction of 35.5% and that is before we even start to factor in the 4% swing in pension contributions, or the increased cost of having to pay 50% of the health & welfare premiums. Or the fact we wouldn’t see a wage increase for 5 years when we recently negotiated 2.5% and 3% for 2010 & 2011.

    Now before I have people saying I am fudging the figures, I realize that our “A” operator is going to make more than $60,000 gross pay, but that is because he will be scheduled and expected to work the 188 hours he lost in paid time off. It will be like working overtime, but only getting straight time for it.

    Notes: I have contacted the Trustee’s of the Pulp & Paper Pension Plan, and found that we wouldn’t be able to contribute the extra 4% into the plan to make up the proposed reduction from the Company even if we wanted to. In fact we would no longer be part of the plan. The plan structure is Employer 10% and Employee 8%, anything outside of that and we would no longer be able to participate in the plan.

    Although I don’t have exact numbers, it looks like the 50/50 cost sharing on Health & Welfare benefits would cost each employee about another $1.00 to $1.50 per hour worked.

    Comment by Ian | September 28, 2009 | Reply

    • Thankyou Ian for explaining this. Like we said before we have a contract, talk to us when you want to start the mill and not with any other contract other than the one you signed. PERIOD

      Comment by CEP member in good standing | September 28, 2009 | Reply

  9. read the very last paragraph in the empire’s list of demands, on ‘non-core work’. That is a blanket coverage for “contracting out!”

    Comment by ken b killer | September 27, 2009 | Reply

  10. At least someone finally pulled the “Catalyst, a friend of the community” ad off the local fm station. That was really starting to make me sick.

    Comment by Fuzzy | September 26, 2009 | Reply

  11. Perhaps Catalyst needs to take another look at what they say they stand for….
    This is quoted from the Catalyst website:

    What We Stand For
    We believe in:
    setting tough goals and making them happen
    being considerate of others
    being honest and trustworthy
    communicating openly and respectfully
    acting on what we say

    We aim high
    For investors, we work hard to be a market-leading company that delivers superior returns and value.

    For customers, we work to exceed their expectations and anticipate their future needs.

    For employees, we work to sustain an environment that is challenging, interesting, rewarding and safe, and to stand for values they can embrace.

    For unions, we work to be regarded as a partner, open to concerns and committed to solutions, and a leader in labour-management relations.

    For communities, we work to be a socially responsible organization that considers community interests as well as economic realities.

    For citizens of B.C., we work to conduct ourselves in ways that reflect well on our province and its people.

    Comment by JB | September 26, 2009 | Reply

  12. it seems that other locals in bc are starting to take notice of the bs that we are being put through. They are not immune as the pg brothers are now finding out. If it can happen to us and to the pulp and paper industry, it can happen to all the other trade unions in this province. maybe the cep western regional and the bc fed should organise a day of protest to get the governments attention,and to let them know that enough is enough!! If the olympic construction was brought to a screeching halt, you can bet old gordo would be on the phone to whomever would listen,and maybe have a serious talk with catalyst about their conduct.

    Comment by jim winnig | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  13. Wow. I have been out of Elk for a year and what a difference a year makes. While I no longer have any vested interest in the industry I can’t help but feel for all the people I worked with over the 18 years I was there.
    Remember what happened to all the other companies in different industries,(airlines, steel) that went down the road of contract concessions. Canadian Airlines… gone. Air Canada…still cutting. Stelco steel…down. You have a contract in place for the next four years – honour it.
    But on another tack, if there is to be wage and benefit concessions, don’t give them for free. A labour rate cut is essentially an investment in the company, and a fairly substantial one at that. So for your investment you should receive something of value, like a seat on the board of directors!

    Comment by Peter Froemgen | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  14. Its time we offered Garneau a contract. Pay back your bonus and take a 32 percent roll back .Now we are talking. I cant believe the company is paying this man millions to put the company in more debt. Pay the white collar and employees Garneau money and you will benefit more for your company. You just put a stab into your own employees how are you going to run an efficent mill with the attitude towards these employees. What a JOKE;

    Comment by norm | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  15. Some of our work mates are coming to us from sawmills, Mackenzie that have shut down. I hate to see the day when it is our turn at PG, so I feel for the union brothers.

    There must be some statistical evidence, that on survival contracts, how many of those mills are still actually running today?

    I remember going into a negotiation one time and being prepped by the company view, saw a detailed example of the pie chart that the company showed in regards to their costs, and employees wages. How large is this cost to the employer if it is estimated at 3% of the total pie?

    Maybe this should be looked at with what you had already sacrificed on that 80 a ton?( I am not to familiar here.)

    I am agreement with some of the views here that the contract should hold until next negotiation period. Like Gordy said, we are under pressures now that will cost us in terms of going to arbitration. So really, there are battles being started all over, that in my view, that someplace, some time, a stand has to be taken. I do not ever under-estimate what it can cost you all, if you do take that stand.

    Then again if their willing to start at current price per ton, call them on it?

    IN solidarity

    Comment by Stephen | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  16. Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?

    The proposal whatever way it is presented in the end is going to have some very unpalatable elements. As a member with low seniority, if I survive it will only be as a result of my trade. Most if not all tradesmen hired in the last ten years or more are gone. So we have a majority of tradespeople who have received their apprenticeships here.
    So most people in the mill have a lot of working history with their fellow members in one capacity or another. Many were hired together and even attended school together.
    But, here is where one of the problems is going to be if and when we ever vote on a proposal. With the additional downsizing, the company is going to make you vote whether or not your coworker/friend of decades is to be unemployed. It is all going to be wrapped up in one bundle, take it or leave it. When it comes to that, if they are displaced they will have to offered a severance.
    So, earlier on the company indicated that it did not have the money to offer packages and wanted concessions. The Crofton proposal had offered a bit of an incentive, if you go before the end of the year you can keep all the perks of the old contract, bridging etc. If the mill doesn’t restart, they are legally bound to pay all severances. A pay me no or pay me later scenario. So they most defintely are in a position to sweeten the pot, if indeed they want to restart.
    The other thing to note is the Port Alice deal. They had to sweeten the pot to keep Steam Plant personnel and Tradespeople. I do know that a tradesmen’s rate there is comparable to our’s here. So a 20% reduction is pie in the sky, many will choose to leave. None will come back to work for a combined total of a 30-40% reduction.
    I suppose there is always the concept of a two tier system as is in place with Safeway/Save On Foods etc. Existing employees would maintain their payscale, future hires might come in at a different base rate. Campbell River is nice place to live, but not nice enough to step back 15 – 20 years in earnings for many of us.

    Comment by gerards | September 25, 2009 | Reply

  17. Greetings

    The other companies are not even waiting for this to be accepted. CPLP (Canfor) has already started with us up here in Prince. They have a little different approach using ” Change of Practice” notice through Standing committee. I believe this is a coordinated attack on the unions of the pulp and paper industry. The strategy with CPLP is to push everything through to arbitration and financially break our small local. Hang tough guys, you are the front lines in this war and we have to hold it until 2012 then we can help these morons out with inventory control of the union kind.

    Comment by Gordon Brown | September 24, 2009 | Reply

  18. If you guys were to accept these concessions you would become the lead pony in the Cataylst race to the bottom.
    Catalyst will simply shut a different division to get them to meet or exceed your concessions,then come back to you for even more, any fool can see this.Take your severance while it is still generous.

    Comment by dave | September 24, 2009 | Reply

    • Sorry Dave but we already have a lead mill or two with Port Alberni on a me too clause and Powell River with all the crap they’ve taken. This is just the next turn of the screw and don’t worry, Crofton will get their hits too.

      Comment by iain park | October 12, 2009 | Reply

  19. I am an Electrician at Crofton. I have been told that if you guys start up, #1PM here will shut down right away and #2 would probably as well. That would put the CEP here under extreme pressure. This is Union busting , nothing less. If anyone accepts this contract we all are done and then the other forest companies will see this and do the same thing. With the way this company has wasted money, i wont do anything to help them. They are liars and cheats. This is the east coast way of doing things.

    Comment by Doug Turlock | September 24, 2009 | Reply

  20. With the market for news the way it is ,this offer sounds like it is an attempt to reduce severance costs 20%.

    Comment by dave | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  21. So what is the base rate and trades rate at our other mills? There is no way I’m going to work for less than our brothers and sisters at the other mills. Our labour rates should all be the same for base rate and trades rate. Otherwise people will fight to bump around.
    “Bonus system”? WE HAD ONE! THE TRIGGER.
    This whining is what the ivory tower gets for sitting on their butt for so many years while the newsprint market fell apart. Did they change Elk Falls to hi-brites when they had the time and money? NO. Oh by the way, what is the price of hi-brite compared to news?
    That carefully worded blather at the beginning of the proposal is a pile of baby poo.
    Lest we forget folks, in 1997 when we went on strike for 9 months against the evil empire of fletcher, the company had 2 billion dollars in the bank, and no debt.
    From then on, it has been a downward spiral of mismanagement
    and fantastic buffoonery. Crazy ideas like flex, pulpco and paperco, the allwin debacle, robots that still don’t work, Ida and her ballbusting, a foreman who knows nothing about your trade, splitting off timberwest which took our biggest security and turned into our biggest enemy, come on you guys, think of some more, there’s lots I can’t remember!!

    And now….I believe that our present labour costs are about 14 percent of the mills total monthly bill. And if that’s correct So, this new kick in the pants will only reduce that cost to about 11 percent maybe? Thats a giant wopping yee haa THREE PERCENT folks! THAT is going to make the difference between running and not?
    NOT FRICKIN LIKELY.
    All it will do is whack our severance and pensions. Which of course will contribute to whose bonus??? Guess.
    “no further supplementary vac. will be accumulated.” Ah.. excuse me but what exactly does that mean? Supp. to disappear after it finally gets used up?
    Max 4 weeks vac.? BULL. Oh how nice I can only take 3 if I want. Hey guess what I will work for 52 weeks and they can pay me out for my 4. Bet they’d love that too.
    Bridging eliminated. OOOOO now that just cranks me up…
    I wonder if Meester garno uses any dark alleys on the way home?
    Maybe we could look at this as a extreme offer which is worst case scenario, and they might be happy to get half?
    On the other hand Crofton is running with no concession so why not us.

    Comment by KEN B. killer | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  22. At the meeting on Mon night a question was raised about the price of newsprint, acording to Paper Age web site the price of 30# is $456 US and 27# is 487.28 $US. Still think the Company really wants to start up?

    Comment by Tom Newman | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  23. minor correction to previous blog, 15 large machines not the 18 that I mentioned,

    Comment by Gordon Brown | September 23, 2009 | Reply

    • Very well said tell them to call us when they want to run the mill otherwise see you at negotiations in 2013. Period. No need to discuss anything further.

      Comment by CEP member in good standing | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  24. Greetings

    Not being in the line of fire here might make it easy for me to comment. But here goes anyway. To give concessions at this time does not make sense. Using the numbers given it looks like 18 machines have no market demand. One question that enters my mind is ” Will these concessions increase the demand enough to save these machines?” I believe the answer is No. You can give concession after concession and it will only result in less machines running and more profit for the companies left. Not to mention the the decades of struggle and sacrifice to achieve these benefits flushed away. For what? More jobs for for you and me and our children in the future? No, just more profit for the greedy few that already live high. There is no advantage to doing anything with this offer until the next contract negotiations. This offer has no guarantee that right after signing the company will not just shut down at a much reduced cost which they then distribute amongst themselves as bonuses for doing such a bang up job of screwing you, me and every other worker in the pulp and paper industry. They signed the agreement as is and its time they lived up to it or show themselves as the untrustworthy group that they very well might be.

    Comment by Gordon Brown | September 23, 2009 | Reply

  25. when senior management posts their wages and bonuses and shows they’re willing to take a 30 percent rollback and run the mill till April 30 2014 then I would seriously think about their offer until then we already have a contract

    Comment by rick | September 22, 2009 | Reply

  26. Perhaps we should have the May1,09 contract printed so everyone can compare and see the full extent of these ridiculous demands.

    Comment by Rick | September 21, 2009 | Reply

  27. Pay package dis-enhancements for me
    -20% wage
    -6% lost vacation
    -.5% benefits package
    -2% supplementals
    -4% pension input

    So it’s really a 32.5% reduction, plus no bridging, no bank time, -$80/day holiday pay.

    So what does Garneau offer for this? Any re-investment? Anything at all for us?

    Garneau signed a contract with us, yet obviously didn’t intend to live up to it. Give him this and what will he take next? The one year savings as a bonus?

    Comment by Iain Park | September 21, 2009 | Reply

  28. Lets just get the severance they will owe us under the current contract and all move on!

    Comment by Todd | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  29. With the price of newsprint continuing to fall, why is the company wanting to try and start our mill up unless it is to get out of paying out severances. How long would the mill have to run for them to get out of their obligation to pay out?

    Comment by Tom Newman | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  30. One has to really wonder what the underlying purpose of this proposal is? Speaking from the position as a tradesman I have a few insights that may be oblivious to some. This company, not just this site has had trouble in the past recruiting “Quality” tradespeople. Yes, you can train in house, but it is like a fine whisky. Quality comes with ageing. The same applies to good operators.
    Unfortunately some people seem to think they are the only ones that deserve the money they make. This would be the Ivory Tower types. I have waited this fiasco out since the closure of the Pulp Mill for the sake of my kids and stability in the home. But I am not sure if I am prepared to wait much longer. Quite frankly I was naive, now I am insulted and very much disgusted. There are things in this proposal I could live with, which I had indicated in an earlier blog entry. But enough is enough. Maybe some others were right all along, we have a collective agreement. Wait it out and request the severance as it is spelled out. A man has his pride and if you take that away he is nothing.

    Comment by Gerard | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  31. If this offer is looked at from the perspective of a tour worker (which most Elk Falls hourly employees will be) the pay cut is more like 30%. 24% right off the top, 20% off wages and a further 4% in pension contributions. When the almost total elimination of premium pay is factored in and what we will pay for our benefits, the reduction of income nears the 30% mark.
    Most importantly, let’s not forget that back in July it was pointed out that (given the current price of newsprint) we could go to work for nothing and it still would not put the company any where near what they need to be to have a profitable operation at Elk Falls. I don’t know that demand for newsprint has increased dramatically in the last several months. As a matter of fact, one of our customers (Pacific Newspaper Group) is bragging that you can now get THE PROVINCE on your smartphone.

    PPWC Local 2 was given a similar list of demands in exchange for starting up one of the Crofton pulp lines. They turned the company down flat. One pulp line was just started at Crofton. No further concessions were necessary.

    Even if we were to start up, who goes down? How long before they are back for more concessions? They will be back!

    Comment by Ian Makus | September 19, 2009 | Reply

    • Don’t forget the increased municipal taxes that you will have to pay because Catalyst refuse to pay their taxes. Who will pay the shortfall. US!
      The union busting tactics of this company are clearly evident by the timing of this announcement.(Not like we didn’t see it earlier) Sadly the average citizen buys into the rhetoric spewed out of this company.
      At a dinner meeting in Snowflake (reliable source) Mr. Boniferro promised to “stick it to the union.” At least, in this case, he seems to be a man of his word. Shame on you Catalyst.
      When I watch and see how this company treats its own salary staff I shudder. I have often heard it said over the years here that “people are our greatest asset.” We must be bankrupt if this treatment is any indication of our value!!!
      Heaven forbid that this economy turns around and the people that have been treated like an old pair of sneakers are once again “needed.” Who will forget? Yes, difficult decisions have had to be made in this, the worst time for our industry, but when the value of the person is taken away from the equation what really do we have left?

      Comment by George | September 20, 2009 | Reply

  32. If the mill is up and running and we are all back to work, I would fully accept this for the companies opening offer during the next bargaining session when the present contract runs out.

    Otherwise they do have the option of offering our severance under the current contract for our card rate as of Feb this year.

    With the ” reduced manning levels” why not allow those who want to go with a package to leave with dignity and a severance.

    Comment by Brian | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  33. We voted on a contract, all parties signed it. Lets talk in 3 years.

    Comment by R. Russell | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  34. The operators would take a real beating if this goes through.
    A 20% rollback on general wages, no time and a half for Sundays worked, no lieu days for working on a Stat holiday,etc. What a way to build morale in a work site!

    Comment by Rich Bak (630) | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  35. Union Busting, what will be next?

    Comment by Stan | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  36. I don’t know how anyone can vote YES to these demands!
    What an insult!!!

    Comment by Rich Bak (630) | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  37. We already have a contract. Put up or shutup and payout. Period.

    Comment by Bob | September 19, 2009 | Reply

  38. I can live with the pay cut, but holidays need to be payed out the same as they are now. There are a lot of senior people that have been put on spare board at base rate.
    Considering the average age of the employees elimination of bridging is going to force many of us to have to work to 65, this will also reduce the chance of younger people getting a job.

    Comment by Tom Newman | September 19, 2009 | Reply

    • I’m concerned Tom that a cut in pay is also a cut in severance since it’s based on so many weeks at your card rate. We could sign this and Catalyst save 20% on severance without ever starting the Mill. We are not dealing with an honourable person here. I can only imagine the bonus he’ll get if we sign anything even close to what he’s asking.

      Comment by Gerry Boyle | September 19, 2009 | Reply

      • <>
        I believe that captures the argument.

        Comment by Brian Gordon | October 2, 2009


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