Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.

Company Meeting…

Dan & Myself were contacted by telephone today, much the same as other Elk employees, informing us of a meeting for Elk Falls employees being held by the Company at the Coast DI tomorrow at 1:30.

Normally it is proper protocol to give a heads up to the Union, but in this case we have not been given any advance notice as to the nature of the meeting, but based upon articles in today’s newspaper, I would expect they are planning on trying to intimidate people into accepting their recent offer.

May 19, 2010 - Posted by | General, Meetings

18 Comments »

  1. That’s truly Hilarious. These people will try every political angle. The only way our mill is to start up is simple. It will take market conditions to improve. To trust this group is suicide. Markets and prices are improving. If they improve enough that demand is higher than supply the mill will run.
    They want to get costs down, then close the office in Richmond.
    As for dismantling any mill and moving it to China. What a feeble attempt at a bluff. They don’t have the money, the business sense or the intestinal fortitude to carry that out. I challenge the brass to move Alberni.
    Out of all the mills isn’t that one working out the best? Is Garneau now gone? What CEO will take his place? Come in with a good cop, bad cop attitude. Then tell the unions he wants to work together. Tell us Elk was approached all wrong. Tell us we need a fresh start, negotiate and move forward. Then come at us as Third Avenue Dictates. Their Website’s front page should tell us all what we need to know about that HUGE firm. Employee’s are a problem not a partnership. They will beat on us and move down the road. Powell or Crofton next? Or will they go after Alberni?

    Comment by frank | May 30, 2010 | Reply

  2. Well, what’s next for this mill? What’s next for the people left?

    Comment by frank | May 29, 2010 | Reply

  3. Alberni dismantled and headed to China? Hard to take anything spewing from the top seriously. Let’s hunker down and accept nothing less than the other mill’s back east have. Elk will reopen when the markets dictate it.

    Comment by movedon.com | May 25, 2010 | Reply

  4. We will be making big choices for the whole industry. Do they want to start this mill? Or do they just want to go down the road and force something on the next mill?
    Maybe we should say start the mill then we can be sure the place will run.
    Sometimes I wonder what the M.O. Is of the whole thing? Trust is something we can’t do.

    Comment by frank | May 22, 2010 | Reply

  5. Well having gone to the meeting I actually thought perhaps there was a glimmer of hope there and absolutely no thanks to Richard…..what arrogance. How Brian managed to hold his composure throughout the meeting was to be commended for…thank you. But now that I read the posts here I have to say that glimmer gets dashed by the negativity. I’m not saying that negativity isn’t just for past pratices by Richard and all others that are not willing to negotiate and rather dictate and all of the lies that have been told to us over the years…it is just. For a bit there I was hoping we can work towards a new start as the presentation indicated….once of course Richard does indeed retire and get out of our lives. However the only way that will happen is if both sides are willing to sit down and negotiate and the focus must be on what is ahead and not in the past….the past is gone and the times have changed and changed dramatically.
    So was this meeting a waste of time? I guess it was if you went to the meeting with no hope of seeing the mill run again. Obviously all that attended the meeting are too young to retire and I think we all have that glimmer of hope, so lets not bury it in negativity and work off of the positive. The positive being Brian and his willingness to sit down and discuss what can be tweaked with in the agreement proposal. This isn’t a perfect scenairo but at least its a start.

    Comment by Rob Sumner | May 22, 2010 | Reply

    • I agree. We know things will be different, will they be something that we can live with? I don’t know until we have a look at the real contract and not an idea being floated around, then each of us will be able to vote with our own concience. There is a new reality out there and to live here we will have to make some big choices.

      Comment by Den | May 22, 2010 | Reply

      • Choices yes. But they should be based on reality not threats. Don’t forget that Catalyst is presently operating three other mills on the coast all working under a deal that is substantially better than what we have been told we need to accept.
        The CEP employs their own economists, lets here from them on the viability of this mill running the new product grade and whether it has a future or not.

        Comment by 1123 member | May 23, 2010

  6. Might be time to grab a job in Mackenzie. Same pension same money. And it’s a very nice little community.
    These guys want us to sign a deal before we even know details. That’s insanity, “sign here, and I’ll buy your house.” “How much you ask, well we can discuss that later.”
    Let’s stop being desperate and get on with our lives. Probably somewhere else.

    Comment by frank | May 21, 2010 | Reply

  7. I really can’t believe what I just witnessed. Does Richard really believe in this day and age he can come into a town and dictate an agreement and not negotiate one. I felt like he viewed us as children and he was reprimanding us all for not falling into line with his way of thinking.
    I truly wonder how he came up with the 40 dollar all in figure. He did mention that with this figure and this figure alone he can get to his 80 dollar a tonne dream. He is putting all of his problems on the back of labor. Never mind going to his suppliers and renegotiating prices or going to the tugs and talking about improved rates. No he thinks that we will all roll over and take it. We are his easy target. Well I think he found out that we aren’t so easily beaten down.
    His arrogance was beyond belief. Just because we didn’t role over and get our belly scratched, like the puppy dog he thinks we all are, he’s going to run to the board of directors and tell them we don’t want to start the mill. Just so you are clear Richard , there wasn’t a person in that room that doesn’t want to start that mill. We all believe that it can be a viable operation.Lets negotiate a new collective agreement if that is what it’s going to take, but remember it’s negotiate not dictate.I found it highly offensive for you to stand in front of us and say the union was holding information back when nothing could be farther from the truth. They have shown us all that they have been given from spreadsheet programs to power point presentations
    To Brian all I can say is thank you for showing us some respect and trying to explain your position. More than once after that meeting it was commented that you must have been embarrassed by the show your boss put on.
    As I said in the meeting the people at the front of the hall are the business experts but the business experts must also realize that the people you were looking at are the experts at running that mill and it is us that will make it viable.
    I just hope that the next CEO and his team are interested in making Elk Falls and the rest of the company a success story because all the pieces of the puzzle are here. All you have to do is ask us how to solve the puzzle.

    Comment by Gordon Hartley | May 21, 2010 | Reply

  8. The only thing that Garneau said that was 100% true is that, the people in that room do not have the appetite to accept what he has thrown on our plate. What a waste of time, and so is the document that they are preparing for us to see, unless they are prepared to negotiate a fair agreement for everyone? Otherwise its a no for me.

    Comment by perry | May 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Oh Bwian, Bwian, Bwian, with reference to the “New start proposal” Where is it going to gestate in a box?

      To compare us to Walmart,
      “No disrespect to Walmart, but this is a whole lot better than what people are going to get at Walmart,” he said.

      I had thought so much better of you, alas you have completely crossed over to the dark side.

      Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope

      Comment by 1123 member | May 21, 2010 | Reply

  9. What a mess that meeting was, using fear and intimidation to judge how desperate workers are.

    Comment by Gord Zmaeff | May 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Well, sometimes when backed into a corner, you have to call the bully out and call his bluff. They usually back down when you do.

      Comment by Dennis | May 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Did the staff people in the room say they are willing to cut their annual salaries by 50 per cent as well. If it’s a fresh start then isn’t everyone on the same team? Don’t think that it was mentioned today?
      I don’t think this is about whether it’s us or staff that takes a 50% reduction. I have a lot of respect for the staff at the mill and don’t think it’s right for anyone to have to be forced into huge reductions. Unions have always stood up for all workers, union or not and we will continue to do that.-Dan

      Comment by CEP member in good standing | May 20, 2010 | Reply

  10. As a member of one of the locals that are out of work here at Elk Falls, I was hoping that the news last night at the special meeting was going to be of a more positive nature. A lot of us are really hoping to go back to work. Sadly, it was more of the same of what we have had for the last 14 months.

    In any dispute, the general public is more likely to believe the statements made by the company for several reasons. They have more money for ads, they have more contacts in the newsrooms, with good accountants they can manipulate the numbers to suit their needs, and the list goes on. In trying to explain a lot of this to the public, you have to reflect back to what has happened in Canada and the U.S. to give you an idea of what the public thinks about our plight. If you recall, back in the 80’s and 90’s when tire plants, textile plants and old paper mills were shutting down all across North America, we basically all sat back and offered our deep feelings of sympathy for the workers, but in reality, we did nothing to help them. As long as WE were still working, life went on. So for the people working now, I think the same mentality would apply. You can’t blame them for not caring, we used to be one of them. To the person that asked about putting a letter to the public in the newspaper to explain our position, quite honestly, the only people that care are the ones that are directly involved.

    Also, recent events will lead you to question what is really happening here. As everyone is aware, both the car industry, and Abitibi have gone through some very challenging times, and yet in spite of going into bankruptcy protection, both industries were able to sit down with their union executives, and negotiate a deal that they believe will make them money. But for some reason, Catalyst thinks the deal with Abitibi is not good enough? The biggest problem we have it seems, is that Catalyst will not sit down and actually negotiate. At times, it appears that their bargaining unit is not all on the same page. As it stands right now, we still have no clear answers to a lot of our questions pertaining to their contract proposal and start-up plan so we really have nothing concrete to discuss or vote on. The market is slowly picking up, so I suspect that the only thing we can do is wait till they are ready to sit down and hopefully bargain in good faith.

    Keep in mind that a foreign company came in to Mackenzie, negotiated with the union, the city, the Province, the suppliers etc. for a mill that was down for longer than us, and had a deal wrapped in 2 weeks. Did I mention that they were from outside the country? If the will is there, Catalyst can get a deal done here as well.

    Since Mr. Garneau and his team read these posts, it may be a good time to clarify a few things for his benefit.

    Our Union Executive has our full support, so please do not mail us any more letters.

    We are ready to sit down anytime to negotiate. Please be prepared to answer questions clearly and with conviction. Our time is as valuable as yours, so please don’t waste it.

    We all want the mill to restart, and become profitable. We believe that can be done, and we really can make it a money maker. But we need Catalyst to show some true leadership and open communication with the very same people they have consistently said were their most valuable assets.

    Respectfully,
    1123 member

    Comment by Will | May 19, 2010 | Reply

    • Excellent letter!

      Comment by 1123 member | May 20, 2010 | Reply

  11. Another snub to the executive and the negotiating committee as management tries to circumvent normal rules of procedure and appeal directly to the rank and file and try to show the union as non-representative of the workers. However in their unquestioning, hierarchical structure they cannot comprehend that the union and the executive is us; regular guys from the shop floor. There is a deal to be had here if the company had an open mind and truly believed their shlock about everyone working together as one to better the mill instead of having a deaf ear to union participation.

    Comment by Bob A | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  12. MMMMM, more wasted time for us and wasted money for them. HMMM, do you think if no one showed up, they would get the message??? I for one am tired of listening to big words and propaganda that they try blowing up our butts. Give us a date, then we’ll talk. SURE, NEW ELK FALLS, but still run by the same BUTTS. Just a bad feeling, wasting 3 hrs for nothing, when I could be having family time.

    Dennis Taylor

    Comment by Dennis | May 19, 2010 | Reply


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