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


  1. Pete,
    Our current contract is from May1,2003-May1,2008 for the "security of a long term, viable 3 Machine operation".
    Chronology:-May 7,2005 #3 Machine is gone permanently.
    Oct.1,2006 Groundwood Department is gone permanently.
    Sept.1,2007 #4 Machine is shut down temporarily with the threat of becoming permanent.
    There is an obvious pattern here.So the real question here is,how long is "long term"?By the above it would seem tops 2 years between curtailments since the implementation of the current "Collective Agreement". Isn't history supposed to teach us something?We've been giving and getting shafted anyway.Why are we giving up more each time we get the shaft?I'll ask once more;"How long is long term"?Is it more than 2 years this time?
    The other is the proposed "Tentative Agreement" remark of the 5 shift system.The term used is "discretionary time off for shift workers";when in actual fact it is dicriminatory time off for shift workers.When this agreement was voted in the word tyranny came to mind;not democracy;as it was passed off as.Brother Tim Thompson defends autonomy for CEP local 592.I defend autonomy within local CEP 592.So therefore I am calling for a vote by Tour Workers only;after all they're the only ones that are blatantly discriminated against under this "Agreement".What chance as a minority did we have with a vote?I'm confident the outcome would be well over 90% against if the only voting Tour Workers had nothing to gain.Something I'm personally going to have a hard time dealing with is the fact that a day worker with as little as 5 years seniority can schedule all of his/hers vacations,floaters and supplementary vacations,while I with over 30 years cannot schedule any of the afore mentioned because I'm a Tour Worker.Is autonomy possible for the Tour Worker within 592 or does "democracy" have it's limits?Please respond.

    Doug Atherley,
    CEP 592 Member.

  2. Doug,
    I really don't know what the hell you're looking for. This issue was handled by a referendum vote and was passed by a slim majority under the very same rules and format we have used since the beginings of this local.And now you're pissed off because it didn't go your way and by the sound of it you want the rules changed. We have always voted as one local for things such as collective agreements, and even alternate shift schedules. If you remember the entire membership had a vote on the 12 hour shift before any one department implemented it.
    As for the remainder of your rant about autonomy as a shift worker, I know you won't listen to reason on why we agreed on the 5 shift schedule so there's no point wasting my breath on that issue. All that you're concerned with is YOUR time off and to hell with the future of this local or this mill. You just don't see the big picture.

  3. Doug has some very valid comments.

    If the retirees who are leaving the plant were not included in the vote, this agreement would not have passed. How can the people who are leaving the plant and have the most to gain (early bridging - not allowed before 60 by contract, no reduction for early pension - not allowed by contract, and severance pay - not allowed by contract)be able to even have a vote. These individuals will not have to work one day under the agreement that they have voted in favour of.

    I believe it is other certain individuals who can not see the big picture. The picture that the future has been manipulated by management who has weakened our membership by conquer and divide.

    The board of Catalyst Paper has not lived up intent of this tenative agreement, and now is the time to bail out of this agreement. Either now, or when they come to revisit this agreement "needing" more concessions.

  4. Pete,
    I guess I should have read tonight's paper(Wed.Jan.30,2007) before I posted my comment.I see Ron Buckhorn was in town at the Council meeting looking to the city for another tax break of $500,000.00 for Catalyst to bring the total tax break to $2,000,000.00.Even though he mentions a "ground-breaking" labour agreement between Catalyst and CEP Locals 592 and 686,he
    goes on to say that Port Alberni is still the highest cost municipality to operate in.Are we to understand that this "Agreement" also hinges on this $500,000.00 tax break?Also the final paragraph of the article is of utmost importance which states:-Meanwhile,Buckhorn told council that without the $2 million in tax breaks the mill could go down,he also couldn't guarantee that it won't even with the increased tax break.
    Maybe this is why you're being stalled off on the signing of the "Agreement".(?)
    Even though it wasn't what I expected,thanks for responding to my earlier comment.

    Doug Atherley,
    CEP 592 Member.

  5. Doug,
    It was never our understanding that this agreement hinged on a further tax break of $500K. It was never mentioned in the 5 months of talks. It was agreed that we would approach municipal and provincial authorities together to seek some sort of relief but the agreement never hinged on that. Our agreement stood alone for the start-up of #4 PM. I was there and I never heard any threat about shutting the mill down without a further tax break. As for the "guarantee" what Ron did say was he can not guarantee the mill would run if there was an earth quake, another 911 or the market fell out the bottom etc. It had nothing to do with a tax break. I believe the media has to put their spin onto the issue to create a little controversy. It sells more copies. As for stalling the signing, you may be very well right, I really can't answer that.

  6. I guess I should weigh in here with a brief comment before I head off to the interior for a week with grandkids.

    There may well be more going on "behind the scenes" at the board level than we know. I hope we don't end up seeing something even more devious being played out by the company, especially now that we have alienated Caucus and many of our other union brothers and sisters. Obviously, the company always planned to go after the city for more tax cuts, but, apart from what Pete says about the plan to go together to city council about it, there was never any mention that I heard of the "deal" being conditional on further tax cuts. That's not to say that the company hasn't once again changed the rules midstream, but I think we need to be careful with how both sides spin the thing, especially the media who have never been a friend to unions.

    The other thing I have to say is that while, as Doug says, I defend autonomy for Local 592 even while opposing the agreement, that autonomy involves all the members voting on an agreement. Democracy may not always seem fair, especially to those who find themselves in the minority, but it is still better than the alternative. I don't even know how anyone could even suggest taking away anyone's vote just because they stand to benefit from it. You could just as easily argue that those most affected negatively by it shouldn't have a vote either because they have something to lose by it. Using this reasoning, everyone could have their vote taken away from them for one reason or another.

    One member, one vote, that's the essence of democracy. Anything else is tyranny, and there's enough of that going around already.