Sunday, 24 December 2006

Merry Christmas!

I just would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas. I hope you enjoy time with family and friends and that next year will be a good one for you.

I have a more in depth post over on my Viewpoint blog if you haven't already checked it out.

Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, 20 December 2006

View From Labour Article

Following is a copy of the recent View From Labour Article that Jim VanDusen submitted and that was published in the AV Times recently. Clicking on the link above will give you a PDF version of the article.

Catalyst demands concessions from Port Alberni Division

In September the CEP Local 592 Wage Delegates met with representatives from the Senior Management group of Catalyst Paper regarding the CTMP project and the Yellow Book (a new Directory customer) agreement.

Ron Buchhorn, Senior Vice President of Operations, began by saying they have signed a tentative deal with Yellow Book but without commitments from both locals and the city they are not prepared to invest in our mill. For us to get the major investment needed for this project they stated that they need concessions from both locals and get a commitment on city taxes. The concessions they were demanding included both local items and Main Wage items. Main Wage items being those that are included in the main body of our Collective Agreement and are part of the Pattern settlement negotiated during the last round of negotiations.

They made it abundantly clear that if a deal was not reached they will run the Yellow Book order in Crofton and they would not be asking anything from them to do so. If this happens then they will eventually shut down # 4 Paper Machine and run # 5 Paper Machine only. This would result in a further lay off of approximately 200 more members.

The Wage Delegates from Local 592 and 686 and the Presidents from the other Catalyst locals met with Ron Buchhorn and Russell Horner, President & Chief Executive Officer of Catalyst. Russell Horner confirmed that their Board of Directors were fully aware of the concessions and they must have them before they will invest any Capital in our mill. He attempted to justify the need for these by talking about the concessions given up in Port Alice, Bowater and Maramachi.

Unlike these other mills Catalyst is not seeking concessions due to financial hardship. They will receive a full return on their investment of $25 million within 2 ½ years. They will be the lowest cost producer of Directory paper in North America and earn approximately $170 per tonne more than they currently do at our mill. This represents about $21 million per year above their present earnings and they still want concessions from the unions and the city.

In an attempt to get an agreement we presented them alternatives that would give them more value than the combined list of concessions they said was required for a less than 2-year payback. We also offered them many ways to improve the efficiency of our Paper Machines, reduce costs and be competitive moving forward. After all we thought that was the goal.
The company did not address anything that we brought forward. They once again read us their entire list of concessionary demands and told us it was all or nothing.

In my opinion the manner in which Catalyst Paper chose to handle this lacked integrity and absolute disrespect for the union. There is no doubt in my mind that the best business case is to put both the project and Yellow Book here in Port Alberni. Their goal of becoming the lowest cost producer of Directory Paper can be obtained without any concessions at all.

The company’s imposed deadline of November 17th has passed and the company announced that because we were unable to reach a deal with the unions Catalyst would not be going ahead with the 25 million dollar capital investment in Port Alberni. It will be business as usual and it will be necessary to reduce costs to continue running # 4 Paper Machine.

Their statement that they were unable to reach a deal with the unions is absolutely ludicrous. That statement implies that both parties actually attempted to negotiate some kind of agreement. Right from the beginning this company never had any intention on accepting anything other than their complete list of concessions.

We were informed that this is the new way they intend on doing business within their company and before any locals get any Capital Investment they will receive a list of demands. However, I found it very interesting that when Powell River was recently presented with their list of concessionary demands their management group chose to include only local items and did not ask for any Main Wage items. It is early in the process but it appears that they are going to sit down and talk with the unions rather than take the, do it or else, approach that we were given. I am not sure why they are dealing with them so much differently, but maybe they actually want to resolve their issues and not just demand concessions, time will tell.

This is certainly not the same company we worked together with to achieve an unprecedented early negotiation a few short years ago. We agreed to an early negotiation because we were assured that if we gave them the comfort of a 5-year deal we would get a no concession agreement. They got the comfort for their customers and we are only in the 3rd year of a five-year deal and they are coming after concessions from our Collective Agreement.

I was foolishly optimistic but I believed that if both the union and the company had the same goal then we could work together and come up with something we could all agree to. But the way this has unfolded I can only conclude that either they never had any intention on investing here or it was always just about getting concessions from the unions.

Last month Russell Horner sent Mayor McRae a letter declining the city’s generous offer of a tax reduction worth about $1.5 million over 5 years stating it was helpful but it stops far short of achieving competitive parity.

I will conclude with a quote from our CEP Western Region Vice President, Don MacNeil that sums it up quite nicely. “We are sure wondering what game Catalyst is playing.” “They talk about investing money to improve operations and increase profits but for some reason they are still demanding concessions from our members in Port Alberni rather than just simply going ahead with this lucrative investment. If they think for one minute that they are going to get concessions from our members just to improve profits for shareholders, they have another thing coming.”

Jim VanDusen

Monday, 18 December 2006

December Forward Look

Here is the link for the December Forward Look.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and hope you have some dear friends and family to spend the season with.

Be safe and have a great time.

Tuesday, 5 December 2006

November Forward Look

It took some time but I did get the Forward Look file and converted it to a PDF (thanks to this nifty little free program and the link is posted below. The monthly Forward Look is compiled by a combination of MS Publisher and the old, literal cut and paste method to fill in some of the spaces. Linda Sorensen does the Publisher stuff and Randy Teichman finishes it up by inserting extra material that isn't easily entered into the computer. The end result is that what you will see here is only what is typed in to Publisher so the added material in the printed edition will not be in this PDF.

It's an experiment. Let me know if it is worthwhile or not.

So here is the November Forward Look. If you have any problems just leave a comment and I'll look into it.

Elections For DSB Rep

The meeting notices for December are already up, but there is an additional piece of business that will happen at the General Meeting on December 18th. There will be nominations for 1 DSB rep with the election following the nomination at the meeting. If you are interested, make sure you attend the meeting.

Core Saw Arbitration

Jim VanDusen has asked me to post the dates for the upcoming arbitration on the Core saw jobs. This arbitration will be held December 11th in Nanaimo. One additional day is needed but this date has not been set. It could be prior to the 11th or after the 11th.

UPDATE: The Executive meeting has been postponed until December 13th because of the arbitration so I believe it will be held on the 11th and 12th.

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Election Results

Thanks very much to all who ran for the positions of Vice President and Trustee. It is a good sign to see people willing to step up and get involved in the business of the local union. To those who were unsuccessful, I would urge you to not give up but try again. There are always opportunities each year. Additionally, committee elections will be coming up in January and there is always a need for members to serve in those areas.

Congratulations to our new Vice President, Bob MacAdams and to our new Trustee, Dal Gulstene.

Welcome to the Executive. We look forward to working with you.

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Nominations and Elections

Nominations for the 2007 Executive were held last night at the General Meeting. The following were nominated:

Pete Rayburn - acclaimed
Vice President (2 year):
Dan Rogers
Bob MacAdams
Doug Chisholm
Recording Secretary:
Tim Thompson - acclaimed
Financial Secretary-Treasurer:
Daryl De Rooy - acclaimed
Trustee (3 year):
Barry Greaves
Dal Gulstene
Simon Fox
Safety Officer:
Phil Guild
Randy Teichman

Elections for one Vice President and one Trustee will be held on November 24th and 28th. Times and places are:
  • In the mill at the Fire Hall between the hours of 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • In the Union Hall between the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Counting of the ballots will take place following the final voting day and results will be posted in the mill. Results will also be posted here as soon as possible.

Friday, 17 November 2006

Notice: November 15th Meeting Update


At the company’s request our Wage Delegates met with them again on November 15th regarding their concessionary demands. We were led to believe that the company was willing to respect our position on Main Wage items and prepared to talk about our proposal. Unfortunately we were gravely mistaken. They gave us a brief presentation on why they required Leave Smoothing and following the presentation Mike said “I guess that’s it for today”. We were livid. We asked them what the hell was going on. It was our understanding that we were going to work toward a mutually acceptable solution. They were not interested in this at all and they read the list back to us again. There is a report on this in my article in this month’s Forward Look. We will also be giving a detailed report at the General Meeting Monday night.

Jim VanDusen

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Meeting Update

Here is a copy of what I've said over on my blog under the title, Same Old Song and Dance, about the meeting that we had with management this morning:
There is nothing to report following the meeting today with the company. After a presentation on why leave smoothing is so important to the company (less relief, fewer jobs) they continued on with their need for pretty much everything on their original list. Apart from a different way of talking about their plan to do away with "soft" trades (their adjective, not mine), they still made it clear that they need everything they asked for from the beginning. In the process they pretty much completely dismissed those things that were presented to them by our group a couple of weeks ago. So, as I said, nothing to report.
And don't forget to come out to the General meeting on Monday, November 20th.

In solidarity,


Monday, 13 November 2006

CEP 592's New Blog

Welcome to the new blog for CEP Local 592.

The executive has asked me to set this up as a place to convey information to the membership. This is especially important since the knee-jerk reaction by the company shut down the all-users address on Catalyst's email system.

Currently the posts will be posted either by me or by a generic CEP Local 592 author. This will allow me to publish posts by the president or other executive members until I get them trained on how to use a computer and post for themselves (I retain the right to remain sarcastic).

Anyway, stay tuned for further information. It will take a little bit of time to get links up in the sidebar and get this blog set up. Hopefully, the posts will be more current and frequent than over at my personal blog.

In solidarity,