Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Wage Delegate Update

Local 592 Wage Delegates having been meeting with Ron Buchhorn and local Management for the last few days. Friday Sept. 21st was spent dealing with issues that were previously indentified as the challenges and barriers that prevent us from achieving the manufacturing cost on A4 to $575 per ton on directory. It was decided that this goal would only be a short term solution due to the Canadian dollar reaching par. It was mutually agreed that our goal should be based on EBITDA rather than manufacturing cost for a long term solution. It was noted that to convince the Board to invest in our mill and invest in our younger work force we should shoot for at least a $200+ EBTDA and maintain or better that going into the future. Although this will be far more challenging, it does make more sense if we are looking for that long term, viable future as a 2 machine operation. The issue around "Management of Time Off" was discussed at length and many proposals were put on the table. Some of these proposals may seem to be distasteful but it is a fact that time off does present a big barrier to achieving any sort of goal due to the demographics of our membership.

On Monday Sept. 24th, Jess Beaman was invited to give us an overview on the down sizing and restructuring process at Boyer in Tazmania. Jess Beaman relayed to us that the approach he took at Boyer was "ruthless" but the end result was a long term future for a mill that was to be shut down. His talk was very "sobering" but there may be some ideas that we can take away from this to help us to achieve our goal.

Tuesday Sept. 25th we again dealt with the indentified issues and included "time off", flexibilty and planning and scheduling. Again many ideas were tossed around on how we can deal with these issues. There has been no decisions or agreements made on any of these issues. All of these will be put in a package proposal to be decided upon by the membership of Local 592. As there are still many items that we still have to discuss, we are still shooting for early November to have something to bring back to the membership.

Local 592 Wage Delegates
Pete Rayburn
Daryl De Rooy
Phil Guild

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Wage Delegate Report

Local 592 Wage Delegates resumed discussions with Ron Buchhorn and company on Friday Sept. 7th. The better part of the morning was spent reviewing the minutes of the last meetings in July to help bring Kim Pedersen up to speed as he has replaced Carlo Dal Monte. The group also spent some time discussing the issues that have resulted since the Sept. 1st curtailment and the resulting lay-offs.

The remainder of the meeting was devoted to identification of the key issues that are impacting cost/performance. It was agreed that each item should be examined for root causes and improvement opportunities.

Following is a list of the issues and barriers that were identified:
  • Lack of flexible work practices (for more than just trades) that impede using people's skills.
  • Too many people and too many contract hours.
  • Underlying desire to avoid reducing the work force.
  • How to decrease the workforce through "packages".
  • Poor scheduling & planning (eg. training the wrong people, training to fill hours)
  • People are not clear if information they provide is being used or acted upon.
  • Jurisdictional barriers.
  • Lack of a gate hire policy.
  • Need to "blank out" critical times.
  • Management of time off.
  • Length of shot downs (not within 12 hours).
  • Too much pay for unskilled work.
  • Powell River letter.
  • Too many penalties paid for a continuous manufacturing operation.
  • Department seniority.
  • Gaps in training & trouble shooting skills.
  • Lack of Rigour.
  • Lack of clarity re: Goals and Accountability.
  • Too many Supervisors hands on machines.
  • Lack of empowerment throughout.
  • Current culture is not accepting of change.
  • Leadership is lacking.
  • Ineffective contracting out.
  • Inventory (too much or inappropriate)
  • Unavailability of parts.
  • Too many unplanned Breakdowns and repeat failures.
  • Lack of Safety Leadership.

After developing this list it was agreed that each of these items will have to be quantified and just how any resolutions to these issues will help reduce the cost per ton.

The group did start to discuss some of these issues such as a "gate hire policy" and just what the advantages and disadvantages could be. It was agreed that this would not be utilized to solve long term hiring needs, and also would not adversely affect any future apprenticeship programs.

There was also some preliminary discussion on "Management of time off". The Wage Delegates will be meeting next week to explore our options for improvement on this issue.

The group has set a tentative schedule for future talks which will take us into the middle of October. We will be meeting again on Sept. 20th & 21st. Sept. 24th & 25th. Oct. 1st & 2nd. and Oct. 11th & 12th.

As you can all see by the list of "issues and barriers", some of these items will be very difficult to deal with but the Wage Delegates still remain optimistic that these discussions could be successful. But again, it is the membership of this Local that will ultimately make the decision on what direction we will take to secure a viable future for this mill. The Wage Delegates will make a report at the General Meeting on Sept. 17th and try to answer any question you may have.

Local 592 Wage Delegates

Pete Rayburn, Daryl De Rooy, Phil Guild

Catalyst Management

Ron Buchhorn, Kim Pedersen, Dale Shimell, Krista Tremblay


Bert Painter