Elk Falls Workers

Campbell River B.C.


Catalyst - Elk Falls

I’ve started this blog to help workers from the Catalyst Paper Elk Falls Division stay in contact while the plant is down. The plan is to utilize it to keep a two-way flow of information between the Local 1123 Executive and rest of it’s membership.


  1. I am curious to when(if) we are going to get the rest of our money back from the strike defense fund. I think that this has gone on long enough.These guys either need to hit the picket line or settle How can anyone justify, having people that are laid off supporting people who are still working while trying to achieve the pattern. All of the other mills are still running. Have any of them offered any support to the laid off workers of elk falls(if they have i must have been away that day)Those who are still working should take up a collection and buy us out of this fight. I know that our executive has fought hard against the evil corporation for us,and i appreciate that.(honest) Don’t you think that if catalyst had our money for 2years that our executive would be screaming bloody murder about it?

    Comment by mike | February 26, 2011 | Reply

  2. Hi guys – I’m a retiree who will remain anonymous due to the fact that I have a relative still working at the mill in Crofton and I don’t trust Garneau to not retaliate in some childish reactive manner which could negatively affect his employment. That said, and for what it’s worth, I believe that, just as the Company did with Crofton Pulp when it was down, they will restart your paper mill so long as there is a market and money to be made, even if you stick to your guns and refuse to accept anything but the current contract. In other words, they have a planned start date, and all they are hoping to do is to manipulate and bully you into taking a huge cut in wages and benefits, just as they tried unsuccessfully to do at Crofton, before that start date. There is simply too much money at stake for them to keep your mill down permanently, period. Of course, you can’t blame a sociopath like Garneau, who is really just a 3rd Avenue pawn, from trying to coerce everyone into believing that without a maximum wage-benefit package of $40 for all workers your mill will never be a viable money-making operation; after all, these guys care about one thing only, and that’s making as much money as they can for themselves and their shareholders. One way that they do this is by borrowing huge sums of cash against their assets at high interest rates (11%), and using up most of the net profits to repay the loans; thereby guaranteeing the investors in their small-cap fund a long-term healthy return on their investment, and at the same time making it appear that the mills themselves are just barely turning a profit. The real bottom-line, however, is radically more positive than the bs bottom-line that they have been feeding to the workers and the public year after year. To see this, all one has to do is go to, for example, the Financial Post and look at the “net” profit posted for Catalyst Paper for 2008 – it’s well over $200 million. The good news is that they are tied in to their high-interest renegotiated debt until 2016, which of course means that they must and will continue operating their mills, including yours, in order to make those high-interest loan payments and keep their small-cap fund shareholders happy. Further, they know only too well that they are already paying their skilled workers (trades and ticketed workers) less than the current Canadian average – according to Workopolis, for example, the average wage for electricians and instrument mechanics in Canada is $44 – $65 an hour, not including benefits – and as a result they have a deficit in skilled trades which they have been unable to fill. That deficit is going to become a huge hole in the next few years, since so many of their current workforce are close to retirement age, and thus Catalyst will have no choice but to offer an attractive wage-benefit package to all come next contract in 2012. There is a rumour floating about, as well, that a huge Chinese contract is in the works, but that the Chinese will only get on board if Catalyst can guarantee their orders, meaning no labour unrest and down-time as a result, and that Catalyst is planning to ask the unions for an early contract signing with a continuation of the current contract (apparently this info came from the former Crofton mill manager, Don McKendrick, who is now working in China as a pr guy for the Pulp and Paper Industry). True or not, looking at the whole big picture, all you workers are definitely in the driver’s seat, despite Garneau’s attempts through lies and manipulation to make you believe otherwise. My hope therefore is that you hold strong and united in your effort to secure a decent contract (you, your families, and future workers and their families deserve it) and don’t cave in to the lies and threats of the Catalyst cartel. Nevertheless, I do understand your difficult situation and my heart goes out to all of you, no matter what happens in the coming weeks and months regarding the restart of your mill. I’m just glad that I was the right age to get out when I did (it kind of feels like, after doing my time, I was let out of prison and could get on with living again . . .).
    The best to you all, and good-luck!
    Anonymous Retiree

    Comment by anonymous retiree | May 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. An interesting personal opinion from stockhouse.com regarding Elk Falls…


    Comment by Jason | December 12, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thanks Ian for your prompt reply.

    Comment by Stew Rennie | May 25, 2009 | Reply

  5. Both these questions were answered at the last membership meeting, but I know not everyone is able to attend so here are the answers given.
    #1 – The amounts to be returned have been calculated, and the cheques will be printed and mailed once our secretary has inputted all information into the payroll system.
    #2 – Once the pattern has been achieved throughout the province, any money remaining in the Health & Welfare or Supplemental Support funds will be returned to the Locals. At this time there are still 3 Locals that haven’t completed bargaining.

    Comment by Ian | May 24, 2009 | Reply

  6. Two Questions 1/What is happening with the money that was supposed to be returned to the membership from the Defence Fund from years ago.2/What is happening with the money the membership paid into,as extra union dues to support a pattern agreement.

    Comment by Stew Rennie | May 24, 2009 | Reply

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