Proboard Limited of Atikokan laid off administrative and supervisory staff yesterday after negotiations between the company and CEP Local #49-0 employees broke off Tuesday.
“We made all the attempts we could,” plant manager Richard Griffiths said this morning. “I really don’t know what we’re going to do. I really don’t.”
The company previously advised employees that if an agreement was not reached soon, customers would be lost and result in layoffs.
Due to the unsuccessful bargaining session with the union Tuesday, the company has advised its customers that it would be unable to predict when production would start up, and in their best interests, they should secure replacement products.
As a result, if and when the plant starts up again, it will be on a limited basis since the customer base has been lost, the company said in a press release.
While eight administrative and supervisory staff were laid off yesterday, with possibly more to come, said Griffiths, sufficient employees will be retained to provide mill security services.
Proboard’s exclusive sales agent, Raven Panel Sales of Grand Forks, B.C., also will lay off its administrative staff, the company said.
The company’s last offer included a five-year contract which would have provided job security to employees, a wage increase of about 2.7 percent per year over five years, pension plan improvements, and no reduction to the benefit package.
Its health, drug, and dental benefits have been described by insurance companies as a “Cadillac package in the industry,” the company noted.
The company also said it was “most disappointed that after numerous bargaining attempts, the union negotiating committee did not feel fit to recommend acceptance of the offer to its members.”
About 125 CEP Local #49-0 members went on strike over the contract dispute July 18.