Workers at the Chaleur Sawmills in Belledune, N.B., have joined Unifor after seeing the advances that Unifor has been able to make for forestry workers across the country.
“Workers see what Unifor is doing in this sector. They look at our contracts and how much we are able to achieve through collective bargaining, and they want to be part of it,” said Unifor Organizing Director Kellie Scanlan.
The 180 workers at the mill, which was recently purchased by the Kilmer Group, join more than 22,000 forestry workers who are already part of Unifor. The workers joined Unifor through automatic certification, meaning that once a majority of workers at the plant signed a Unifor card, the union was certified at the mill.
The New Brunswick Labour and Employment Board certified Unifor as the union at the mill on the Friday before Labour Day weekend.
“What a great way for these workers to celebrate Labour Day - by joining a union,” Linda MacNeil, Atlantic Regional Director said.
Scanlan said the Chaleur drive was a good example of a key pillar of the department’s new strategic plan, which was presented at the Constitutional Convention last month.
“We work with servicing reps, and take the collective agreements they have negotiated to non-union workplaces to show workers what a union can do for them,” Scanlan said.,
Workers from the nearby Fornebu lumber mill in Bathurst, N.B., members of Local 102, assisted in the effort to help the Chaleur workers join Unifor. Scanlan said having workers from the same industry as part of an organizing drive is a big help.