Unifor members on Tuesday voted 74 percent in favour of the tentative agreement with Resolute Forest Products that will set the pattern agreement for the pulp and paper industry in eastern Canada.
“Forestry is Canada's third-most valuable export sector and represents 10 percent of all of our exports” said Unifor national president Jerry Dias.
“This contract ensures fairness for forestry workers, which, in turn, sustains small communities across the region,” he noted.
Highlights of the deal include:
- wage increases of two percent the first two years and 2.5 percent the last two years;
- wage adjustments of $0.40/hour for members working in production;
- wage adjustments of $0.75/hour for skilled trades workers, effective May 1, 2018, and of $0.50/hour, effective May 1, 2021;
- improvements to the pension plan and insurance benefits;
- wage progression amendment entitling employees to receive 100 percent of their salary after 1,000 hours worked; and
- contribution of $0.02/hour to Unifor's Canadian Community Fund (CCF).
“In the current context, we can say we've obtained a good deal,” said Renaud Gagné, Unifor Quebec Director.
“The gains we negotiated will allow us to meet the challenges of retaining and renewing the workforce by ensuring good-quality jobs,” he noted.
“Over the coming weeks, we will be negotiating our collective agreements with the other employers in the forestry industry,” remarked Gagné.
The agreement approved by members will set the monetary pattern for bargaining in the other pulp and paper mills in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic region.
In all, some 15,000 members will be affected by the pattern agreement.