Unifor, Canada's largest union in the forestry sector, kicked off preparations for the 2014 pulp and paper pattern bargaining in Eastern Canada at its Industry Bargaining Conference this week in Montreal.
"This round of bargaining is about making progress for workers after the recession that battered the forestry and the entire manufacturing sector," said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. "The industry has returned to profitability – we’ll be asking employers to acknowledge the sacrifices and contributions of workers during the crisis, including helping to take some companies out of CCAA protection."
Renaud Gagné, assistant to the Unifor Quebec director said the union's priorities in bargaining will be economic improvements, including benefits and job security enhancements.
The union has chosen Resolute Forest Products as the target company for 2014 pattern negotiations by delegates from 50 Unifor local unions in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and Ontario. The agreement to be negotiated with Resolute will set the pattern for some 10,000 Unifor members in the Eastern Canadian pulp and paper industry.
Negotiations with Resolute will begin in mid-March.
The union will also be seeking cooperation from employers in a campaign to secure a national forestry policy to support capital investment, value added jobs and worker training.
"Unifor has an optimistic vision for forestry and pulp and paper, and we’ll link our bargaining to a sustainable forest industry and better days for forestry communities," said Dias, "Every successful forest economy in the world is based on a partnership of government, labour and business to promote the industry and take care of their workers and communities. We firmly expect the same here in Canada.”
Read Unifor’s forestry sector overview, released this week.