Thursday, 31 January 2008

Posting Comments

A few people may have noticed that their comments are not posted. We have stated in the past that we will not use this venue to get into any vicious debate over unfounded accusations in a public forum such as this blog. If you feel you must then please do it in the proper forum such as a General Meeting. But please be prepared to back up your accusations.

Catalyst Tax Break

Published Date: 2008/1/31 0:10:00
Article ID : 3536
Version 1.00
By Karen Boden

Tighten your belts; Catalyst Paper got its tax break.Port Alberni city council voted Wednesday evening to reduce industrial property taxes by an additional $125,000 per year for five years. This is on top of the $300,000 annual reduction the city agreed to one year ago. The paper-making company’s senior vice-president Ron Buchhorn had pleaded for the break Monday night, saying it would help to convince Catalyst to start-up the idle No. 4 paper machine.The final tax reduction will amount to a total of $2.125 million at the end of five years.The vote was passed Wednesday after council heard a report recommending compliance from the city’s economic development manager Pat Deakin. City councillors didn’t all readily agree, though.Coun. Cindy Solda had asked Buchhorn Monday if his request was a bullying tactic. She was not present at Wednesday’s budget presentations.Coun. Jack McLeman voiced some reservations and abstained from the vote.“I think we should wait and see if Catalyst even accepts the union’s proposal which they haven’t already done,” he said.The paper mill’s two CEP Union locals met with company officials over the past few months and made a number of sacrifices, alienating their own governing national body in the process. They hoped Catalyst would restart the downed machine. Union presidents joined forces with the employer Monday in asking the city to step up to the plate as well, with lowered taxes.McLeman was concerned because council still has to figure out how it will make up the shortfall.“Let’s not rush until we know what the cost is,” he urged prior to the vote.Coun. Hira Chopra had argued for a guarantee. He wanted some sort of a commitment from the company assuring council the No. 4 paper machine would indeed be put back into service if the tax break was approved.“If [the company does] not start No. 4 I have a hard time as a businessman to swallow this one,” said Chopra. “[Catalyst has] to do something, too.”The Catalyst board won’t decide on the deal worked out with the union until next month.Councillors Ike Patterson, Charles Mealey and Kenn Whiteman all felt it was imperative to approve the reduction and show Catalyst a commitment to keeping the paper mill in operation.Patterson called it a show of good faith saying, “Let’s face it, these unions have given up an awful lot – more than anybody ever thought they would do.”He said the issue is also about keeping the only other paper machine – the No. 5 lightweight paper making machine – up and running.The paper mill once employed 1,500 people and was the lifeblood of the community, but now employs just 200 senior workers.Mayor Ken McRae, who arranged for the presentation Monday from the unions and the paper mill as well as from Western Forest Products, has been discussing taxes with the forest industry representatives for a long time.“The time of negotiations is over,” said McRae, speaking emphatically. “No more negotiations!”“If we don’t go through with this then that machine is not going to start up,” he said. McRae said Catalyst president Richard Garneau was on the phone asking him for $2 million in cash this week.The subject was opened up for comments from the floor and three people spoke in favour of the tax reduction. One lone woman, saying she was speaking on behalf of a number of others, was opposed.The mill’s various owners have a long history of broken promises to the community, she indicated.“Enough is enough,” she said.Forest company operator Mike McKay sided with the unions. “CEP stepped up,” said McKay. “They bent, they almost broke as far as I can tell because I can’t imagine what Pete [Reyburn, CEP 592 president] would have gone through, getting it from both sides.”Catalyst’s contribution, at $5.7 million, makes up 80 per cent of the industrial property taxes paid to the city. The reduction will translate to a $100,000 savings for the company in the first year.City council also voted to strike up a key stakeholder team with the mayor, city manager, economic development manager, the regional district chair and administrator to meet presidents of Catalyst, Western Forest Products and the Coulson Group of Companies.The team would identify any other actions the city may take to ensure the big companies will continue to do business in

Thanks to Kevin Drews of the WESTCOASTER.CA for his permission to post this article.

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Board of Directors Meeting Feb. 12th 2008

The recent news that the Board of Directors will not be deciding on the CER until February 12th is extremely disappointing. To say that I'm frustrated is a huge understatement. The future of our members as well as our possible retirees remains unsure, at least for another 2 weeks. Some members have stated that the unsigned agreement has already been violated by not adhering to the original dates for the acceptance of the retirement packages and that should be cause to withdraw the proposed agreement. That may be so, but there is a lot more to this agreement than just the retirement packages. There are the people that will still be working in this mill under this agreement with the security of a long term, viable, 2 machine operation if this CER is approved. These are the people that are giving up the most by way of discretionary time off for shift workers, 5 shift system, banked overtime etc. in order to achieve those packages.

In actual fact, the specifics of the agreement are still intact. Implementation of this agreement is not until May 1st. The offer on the packages is still intact. There is not a lot we can do to influence the Board to expedite this process. Its time to start focusing on the membership as a whole and not just those that want to retire. Everybody has a very big stake in this agreement.
We have invested too much time and work to walk away from this now.

To quote Local 686 President Brother Roy Plotniko:

"The delay on the Board of Directors decision is extremely disturbing. Local 686 will be watching the events as they unfold very closely, as we approach and reach the proposed February 12th 2008 Board of Directors meeting.I will arrive in Vancouver from Kamloops on the morning of Feb. 11th 2008. In Vancouver I will stay awaiting a decision from Catalyst on whether or not they approve the "Two Machine Configuration" and the future of our mill. I will have communication open with the employer and the local 24/7.

I will not come home to Port Alberni unless I have a decision for you.

The local has been waiting far too long for this uncertainty to end. I thank you for your support and most of all your patience.

Roy Plotniko
CEP Local 686 President.

Brother Plotniko and myself will be attending the Board Meeting together and we will have a decision for both of the Locals.

Pete Rayburn

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Syncrude Job Fair

I was asked this morning to mention on this blog that there is a Syncrude Job Fair in Nanaimo tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Grand Hotel. I have no further information as to the time of the job fair but I'm sure if you phoned the hotel they might be able to give you some more information.

You can also check out Syncrude's web site although I couldn't find any info there in a quick look around.

And here is the Grand Hotel's web site.

Contact Information

Please use the following phone numbers to contact Pete Rayburn

Cell Phone: 250-731-6852 (Please note new cell number)
Mill Phone: 724-7528 (Office in 3rd floor technical building)
CEP Local 592 Office: 723-3931

Board of Directors Update

The rumor currently making the rounds through the mill about the CER approval being delayed until Feb 12th are apparently true. Roy Plotniko, President Local 686, and myself met with Ron Buchhorn last night to try and find out just what the hell is going on with our Board of Directors and what kind of game are they playing with us. I believe that we did impress upon Ron that enough is enough and that we will not keep going down this road of uncertainty. But having said that, I hope I speak for all when I say that we have put far too much work into this process to just pick up our bat and ball and go home. We have been assured one more time that the CER approval will be on Feb 12th and Roy and I have been asked to attend that Board Meeting. I also believe that we left the impression with Ron that the opportunities to complete this agreement are fading faster as we keep getting put off. As we all know, we came into this with an open and honest attitude and good intentions but not to be made fools of. Unfortunately the Board does not see the importance or urgency that is required to make this agreement work. We have informed Ron that we will attend that Board Meeting and that Feb 12th is as far as we will being willing to go. If the approval is not completed by that date then it will be the decision of the members of Local 592 on what path we take next. This local membership has demonstrated amazing patience over the last several years and we ask for a little more.

Pete Rayburn
Extremely frustrated President CEP Local 592

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Beginning of a Web Site

I had some time today to do a little work on a web site for Local 592. I've played with web stuff in the past but just never kept up with it and I've forgotten most of what little I did know.

Initially I'm using a beta Google site called Google Pages. It's free and has some potential, but also some limitations (at least with my current knowledge). I have been using it to store the Forward Look pdfs for the last year or so and so the basics were already in place.

You can find the web site here. It is nothing more than an introductory page with a couple of links on it. This blog is far more advanced at this time.

I'm not really sure what anyone is looking for in a web site. I'm personally pretty hooked on blogging and so my mindset isn't really on web pages but, I guess it does provide a place for permanent pages like the Executive and Committee listings, pictures of the Executive (just what everyone wants) and important links and things.

For current, up-to-date news, the blog is still tops in my opinion because it is very easily and quickly updated, so I still think that will be the place for everyday stuff.

Anyway, I'll play with it as I find time and, suggestions, contributions and assistance is more than welcome.

In solidarity,


Monday, 21 January 2008

Rick Van Nice Passing.

January 21, 2008

Rick Van Nice has passed away
It is with deep regret that I inform you of the sudden passing of Rick Van Nice on
Sunday, January 20th.

Rick was a very well liked shift millwright who worked for the Company for 21
years. Rick’s high level of integrity earned him the respect of everyone that had
the pleasure of knowing him. He will be greatly missed by all.

At this time we do not have any service information to share but will let everyone
know as soon as it becomes available.

Our condolences and thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Board of Directors & CER Approval

We have been informed that the CER for the CTMP expansion did not go to the Board yesterday but will in fact be presented to the Board next week. The President of Local 686 and myself have been asked to attend a meeting in Nanaimo next Tuesday to go over the CER before it is given to the Board. Ron Buchhorn did assure us that this should have no impact on the implementation dates for the retirement packages.

Pete Rayburn

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

January Forward Look

It took me longer than I thought this first time and I haven't even had lunch yet. But, I'm pleased to say that the January Forward Look is now online. It may have some errors in it and it may not be perfect (yet) but here it is. With the different graphics and pictures and some scans it comes in at 882 mb so if you are still on dial up it will take a few minutes.

Note that the Agenda is still found on the last page.

Constructive feedback is more than welcome.

Now for some lunch.

UPDATE: I've just realized that in the conversion of the publisher file to a PDF, the Important Links don't link. So I will post them in the sidebar of the blog so you can still access them and I'll see if I can figure it out for next month. Fixed. Next to the name of the site is the WWW address that Adobe reader picks up as a link. Not as neat as I like it but it works.

UPDATE 2: January 16 - I've just noticed an error on the Agenda for the General Meeting. The motion concerning the Executive Dinner and Dance should be dated March 8, 2008, not 2007. I will correct it as soon as I can this evening. Fixed.

Raise the Minimum Wage Campaign

I'm working at getting the Forward Look online edition published, but while providing some links to the BC Federation of Labour site, I discovered their video below that I thought you would find interesting.

Local 592 Committee Elections

At last nights Executive Meeting a motion was put to the Exec to delay Committee Elections and Appointments until the April General Meeting. At this time it would be almost impossible to determine who will be remaining after the retirements and severances are spoken for. This will be comming to the membership as an Executive Recommendation and with your approval we will wait until April. Having said all that, we are also asking those that are currently holding commitee positions if they would continue until April. If you can't then we fully understand and we will make other arrangements.

Pete Rayburn

Sunday, 6 January 2008

January Forward Look Submissions


Please send submissions to and put "Forward Look" in the subject line. This will help ensure that I don't miss your submission.

Below is a copy of the initial guidelines to help this go smoothly for me. I do appreciate feedback and the intention is to help make this as easy as possible for all involved, me included.

Thank you in anticipation of your contribution. Let's make the online edition a success.

In Solidarity,

Tim Thompson

The December issue was the final print edition of the Forward Look. However, it will continue to exist in an online format which will probably evolve over the course of the year. Currently, the Forward Look will continue to be accessible via this blog. In the future we hope to move to some kind of full blown web site, but that is a project for down the road.

I have been asked to look after the Forward Look for the coming year and in order to accommodate this there are a few guidelines and procedures that need to be put in place. So that my weekend is not tied up with an inordinate amount of time to get this ready for the Executive Meeting, I will have to be fairly firm on my insistence in following these procedures.

1. All submissions must be in an electronic format. This can be done in pretty much any word processor including Word. Google has a free online application that can probably also be used although I have little experience with it. Photographs can also be submitted and would be a welcome addition to the Forward Look.

2. Submissions should be sent directly to me at and need to have “Forward Look” in the subject line. Your submission must be in my inbox no later than the Friday before the Executive Meeting. The Executive Meeting is always held on the second Monday of the month. This will allow for the printing out of the articles for review by the Executive and adoption of the Forward Look file before its publication. I will also try and post a monthly reminder of the due date.

3. If all goes according to expectation, the Forward Look should be published online sometime on Tuesday following the Executive Meeting.

4. Again, let me reiterate that submissions need to be sent to because I check this regularly. DO NOT use my Catalyst email address. Articles will not be accepted if sent to that address.

I would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation in this and encourage you to submit something. It doesn’t have to be long (in fact, short and sweet is usually better although I seldom seem to be able to follow that advice myself) and can even take the form of a “Letter to the Editor”. This is your Forward Look and it will be what you make of it.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Retirement Packages Timeline Revisions

The timeline for the packages has been altered to allow all the steps to be implemented before May 1st. They are as follows:

  • order papers for all 55+ as of Dec 31st 2007
  • Get papers to people: Jan. 21st - 25th.
  • Financial counseling : Jan 28th - Feb. 1st
  • People to indicate intention by Feb 22nd for retirement on April 1st unless needed for training,

Step 2:

  • Determine monies left from step 1 and determine design of possible enhanced severances Feb 25th - 28th.
  • Severances offers out to all 592 members Mar 3rd - 5th with no guarantees.
  • People to indicate intention by Mar 24th, to be severed by April 30th.

Step 3:

  • Determine monies left from step 2
  • further retirement packages offered to those employees that turn 55 after Dec 31 2007. Paper to employees:Mar 25th - 28th
  • financial counseling Mar. 31st - April 4th
  • Indicate intention by April 17th
  • Retire May 1st.

Notice of Shop Stewards Meeting

To all local 592 Shop Stewards
Please note that the monthly Shop Stewards Meeting is:
Monday January 7th 2008
Hansen Hall

Wednesday, 2 January 2008

All Members CEP Local 592

As most of you are aware, Bob MacAdams has stepped down as Vice President for personal and moral reasons. I would like to thank Bob for his service to this local and membership. Also Brother Daryl De Rooy has asked to be replaced for the duration of his term for health reasons that will require his attention. Therefore we will be holding nominations for 1 Vice President and the Financial Secretary at the next General Meeting Jan. 21st. Both terms are for the remainder of 2008. Both of these positions will be extremely busy in the upcoming year. If you want to get involved and feel you have something to offer this local then please attend the General Meeting and let your name stand for nomination to one of these positions.