Members at Dryden Domtar mill make strong wage gains

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Members of the Unifor bargaining committee at Domtar in Dryden, Ontario.

In the final weeks of December 2022, Unifor members at the Domtar mill in Dryden, Ont. voted overwhelmingly in favor of three new contracts with Domtar. 

“Negotiating for sector-wide gains is a major advantage for workers,” said Lana Payne, Unifor National President. “Unifor forestry members benefit from years of pattern bargaining and these Domtar Dryden agreements are a great example of the bargaining committee’s hard work and the strength of the pattern model. We are stronger together.”

Approximately 225 wood harvesting, trucking, road construction and chipping employees from Unifor Local 324 voted 100% in favor of their new deal while 225 maintenance, production and office employees from Unifor Local 105 at the pulp mill voted 96% in favor of two new contracts.

“As indicated by the extremely high vote results, Unifor members in Dryden were very pleased with the improvements and significant wage gains negotiated with Domtar,” said Stephen Boon, Unifor National Representative. “All three deals achieve Unifor’s Eastern Canada Pulp and Paper Pattern and the total monetary packages contain some of the largest monetary improvements in the forest sector in over 35 years.” 

Highlights include:

  • 4-year term (September 1, 2022 to August 31, 2026);
  • Salary adjustments of $2.50/hour for all production members and $3.50/hour for members in the trades over the term;
  • Additional General wage increases of 3% in the 2022, $1.30/hour in 2023, 3% in 2024 and $1.30/hour in 2025;
  • In total, wages will increase 22% to 24% over the term of the agreements;
  • Significant enhancements to group benefits ($100 for vision, $200 increase in dental and orthodontics, $10,000 increase in life insurance, $1,000 for eye surgery and improvements in short- and long-term disability);
  • Night and Evening Shift Premium increased by $0.10/hour;
  • Third week of vacation after 2 years of service;
  • Double time for Sunday overtime after 4 hours;
  • Union representatives will have a paid 30-minute period to meet with all new employees;
  • $75 increase in annual boot allowance;
  • Improved bereavement and statutory holiday pay based on regular scheduled hours;
  • New maternity leave top-up program;
  • New Unifor Women and Gender Diverse People’s Advocate;
  • An additional $1,020 annually in employer pension contributions for all Local 324 woodlands workers;
  • 11% increase in Local 324 woodlands daily commuting per diem to $50 per day;
  • $15 increase in Local 105 meal tickets to $50 at the pulp mill;
  • New 7% supervisory and trainer premium for Local 105 pulp mill agreements.

The Unifor Eastern Canada Pulp and Paper Pattern Agreement is model contract for Unifor forestry operations which allows for items such as wages, benefits and pensions to be negotiated at a common table.
The 2022 to 2026 model contract was established in May with Resolute Forest Products and serves as a basis for negotiation with all other employers in the forest industry. Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector and represents 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy, including 24,000 in the forestry sector.