Thursday, 29 March 2007

Company Talks Update


The Wage Delegates met with the Company on Thursday, March 29 to discuss the proposal we presented to them on March 21.

The Company went through the proposal and outlined the changes they would like to see. In addition, they raised several issues we didn’t address and several other items that they had not really mentioned previously.

A number of the issues are very difficult to address and may preclude being able to reach an agreement.

However, the Wage Delegates will meet on Monday to review the Company’s requests and respond to them later next week.

In solidarity,

Pete Rayburn
Daryl De Rooy
Jim VanDusen
Tim Thompson

Monday, 26 March 2007

Summer Employment at Crofton

This notice was put out by the company on Friday and I'm posting it for those who may not be aware of it. Note, that there is not much time left to apply.

Summer Employment Opportunities
Crofton Division will soon be hiring temporary relief employees for the summer vacation period. Due to the current curtailment in Port Alberni, some of these positions will be offered to CEP 592 and CEP 686 employees who are currently on lay off. The period of employment will be approximately May 1st to Labour Day.

The following conditions will apply to Port Alberni employees who choose to work at another division for the summer of 2006:
• Employees will be hired as “students” at the other divisions.
• Hiring will be on a casual basis only. Seniority rights will not be earned at the other division. Seniority and recall rights will remain with the Port Alberni mill.
• Recall rights to the Port Alberni mill will be waived for the term of summer employment at the other division.
• Employees are expected to be available for work for the May to Labour Day period.
• Employees will be responsible for all expenses incurred relating to work at Crofton division.

If you are interested in these work opportunities for the summer of 2006, please contact Mary Ruel at 724-7474 BY MARCH 28TH!!

Friday, 23 March 2007

Company Talks Update

The company contacted Pete Rayburn today and we will be meeting again with the company next Thursday at 9.

While it appears to be a long wait, I am hopeful that the company is looking seriously at what we presented them.

Since little will happen between now and then, look for the next update sometime next Thursday or Friday.

In solidarity,


Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Company Talks Update

We met with the company this afternoon and gave them our presentation. They will take a look at it and we will be meeting again in the middle of next week to get their feedback.

It is impossible to accurately gauge their reaction but hopefully they will take it seriously and see the value of what has been presented.

If we can conclude a deal with them, then we will proceed with presenting it to the membership and then hold a ratification vote.

In solidarity,


Tuesday, 20 March 2007

Budget Question

I've never professed to understand money and federal budgets and business taxes but maybe someone could tell me if the following budget piece offers some potential good news for capital investment:
Manufacturing and processing businesses will be allowed to write off their capital investments in machinery and equipment acquired on or after March 19, 2007, and before 2009 using a special two-year, 50-per-cent straight-line rate.


Monday, 19 March 2007

General Meeting

Just a quick post. The General Meeting was very good tonight and it was great to see enough members out to form a quorum. Last year's meeting in March didn't happen because we didn't have a quorum so it is good to see improved interest. There is a lot going on these days and it is important for the membership to participate.

The major item of business was the notice of motion put forward last month regarding special negotiations and grievance resolutions. Neither the mover of the motion nor the seconder were in attendance. The motion went down to defeat unanimously.

Concerning negotiations, the wage delegates will be presenting a package to the company on Wednesday. It has been a lot of hard work, but we have attempted to both address the company's requests and the needs of the membership. We will see what the company's response is. If it is positive then we will plan some special meetings to discuss the package and eventually vote on it.

In solidarity,


Friday, 16 March 2007

March Forward Look

Here is March's Forward Look. I need to issue a size warning, though. The file is around 3 mb because I scanned a few extra pages in and added them to the file that I normally receive. The pages scan in as pictures and that makes the entire pdf file bigger. (Smaller version here. See update below.)

If this is a problem (or you have advice on how to do this more efficiently) let me know either via the comments or email me directly.

One of the additional pages scanned in is the agenda for the March General Meeting. Hope to see you there.

Update: I compressed some of the picture files and created a smaller March Forward Look file. The resolution is not quite as good on the added pages but it is a quicker download. I don't know how good either one will look if you print it out.

Company Talks Update

All I really have to report is that we are close to finishing what we want to present to the company. We hope to wrap up by Tuesday and present something to the company on Wednesday. It has been difficult coming to grips with some of the things we may have to do. We have been unwilling to just rewrite the Powell River agreement and present it because there are some considerable differences between us and Powell that needed to be addressed.

Additionally, of course, is all the stuff that the company continues to do in the mill that, in the name of "cost cutting" seems to be ongoing attacks against their employees, a group that the company once called their most valuable resource. I am reminded of the old adage, "penny wise, pound foolish" as I watch the company cut out things that can only further the rift between us and continue to lower morale.

Nevertheless, it is important that we try to find areas that can both help make the operation more viable (using their words) and provide some early retirement packages to help provide jobs for those on or facing layoff. This is what the wage delegates have been trying to look at and we have attempted to do it with great care to ensure that there are no surprises. It is also important to recognize that, if ratified by the membership, we will have to live with it.

I know everyone is getting tired of the wait. Frankly, I am weary of it all, too. We are close to wrapping up a package to present to management.

In solidarity,


Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Crofton Visit

Pete, Daryl, Jim and I traveled to Crofton today where we met with company and union reps to talk about flexibility and vending machines. Vern Phillips, John Fitzpatrick and Bob Laekeman were also present for the company. Dale Shimell spearheaded the meeting from Crofton along with a couple of other company people. Phil Davies, President of PPWC Local 2 was there along with a couple of other maintenance guys. Phil is a millwright and there was a pipefitter and a mason who is the vibration analyst. These guys spoke freely about the good and the bad and gave good counterpoint to some of the things the company reps were saying although they were mostly in agreement.

It was very informative for us and I can say that they do work a bit more flexibly than we do, but certainly not to the extent that we have been led to believe. Their history is such that they have been through the mistakes and the money-wasting training that never got used and have reached a point where common sense seems to prevail for the most part. Hopefully, our company reps heard that message also.

So, if we were to follow Crofton as a model on flexibility, things would look slightly different here (at least in my opinion) but not hugely different. We talked to a couple of former millwrights from Port Alberni who are now in Crofton and they said things weren't that much different.

We also discussed vending machines and saw how they work. Again, there seem to be some advantages, but also some disadvantages. A big problem seems to be on shutdown days when they run empty real fast. A key point for us is that it is mill stores people that stock the machines, not the vendor, which is what they have been pushing for in Port Alberni. This was good information for us. Local 2 is currently waiting for an arbitration decision on a tech change grievance around the elimination of two jobs in mill stores. The union said it was due to the vending machines. The company denied that and the union took the fight all the way. Things aren't always golden in the company's favorite mill.

So, we will continue to work on something that we can use to try and get some packages to take care of displaced employees. It is not an easy task and we are taking great care in addressing some of the issues the company has requested. We are meeting again on Thursday to continue working on all of this. I will try and give you a further update Thursday night even if it is to just say that we are still working on things.

In solidarity,


Friday, 9 March 2007

Company Talks Update

Just a quick update to let you know what has been going on. The wage delegates have met the last couple of days working on the package to present to the company. We will continue to work on this Monday. On Tuesday, we will be visiting Crofton Division to try and gain an understanding of what flex looks like there and also how the Point of Use Vending Machines work in that mill.

The object of all of this is to try and put together a deal that will provide sufficient packages to take care of everyone affected by the company's downsizing. As you can imagine, this is not an easy task, but I believe that progress is being made.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Notice of Motion re: Outstanding Grievances

The following notice of motion has been posted:


Feb. 26, 2007

That all outstanding Grievances be resolved before any special negotiations take place and that grievances not be included in any negotiation.

Les Ball