Friday, 23 May 2008

Elk Falls Bulletins

The following bulletins are updates on the discussions that Locals 630 and 1123 are having concerning Cost Reduction Initiatives at Elk Falls.
Friday, May 16, 2008

Bulletin 3 – Update on Joint Standing Committee Discussions on Cost Reduction Initiatives

The joint Standing Committees of Local 630 and Local 1123 met with the Company on Thursday and Friday of this week to continue discussions on removing costs associated with PM1.

The focus this week was determining the impact of position eliminations and maintenance crew reductions on the mill wide seniority list. The committee recognizes the urgency in determining who will be facing layoff as a result of these cost reduction initiatives.

The following information will be made available by Wednesday, May 21:

· A list of jobs that are being eliminated

· A first draft of who is facing displacement in each trade in the Maintenance Department

· An estimate of the “cut line” on the mill seniority list. Employees with mill seniority less than this cut line will be facing layoff.

· The timing of when reductions are to be implemented.

The Committee asks that employees who are considering a leave of absence under the guidelines that were published in April to please submit their requests as quickly as possible. LOA requests have a direct impact on who will be working in the mill and what they will be doing.

Employees are also advised that they must be available for work, be on approved paid time off or be on an approved Leave of Absence.

On the TimberWest front, it appears that 27 employees will be exercising their right to come over to Catalyst. The first 11 started this week. The rest are expected to start in early June.

The Committee will reconvene on Tuesday, May 20 to complete work on the issues identified above. The objective continues to be to have a cost reduction plan finalized by May 23.

If you have any questions, please contract any member of your Standing Committee or your department manager.

Dave Beulah
Director, Maintenance and Engineering
Dan Bergsma
1st Vice President , CEP 1123
Terry Hoff
President, CEP 630

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bulletin 4 – Update on Joint Standing Committee Discussions on Cost Reduction Initiatives

In our last communication, we committed to communicating the following information to you by today:

· A list of jobs that are being eliminated

· A first draft of who is facing displacement in each trade in the Maintenance Department

· An estimate of the “cut line” on the mill seniority list. Employees with mill seniority less than this cut line will be facing layoff.

· The timing of when reductions are to be implemented.

Most of this information has been prepared and will be distributed to departments today. It will also be available online through our “PeopleNet” intranet site. Go to Snap, select PeopleNet, select “Unions/Management Information”, and then select Joint Standing Committee.

As you review this information, you should recognize that this is the first pass at trying to establish who is facing displacement from their department or trade or layoff from the mill. We expect this information will change frequently in the coming days and weeks. Decisions that individual employees may make in the coming days or weeks regarding retirement, resignation or applying for a leave of absence will impact that specific department or trade, and will ultimately affect where the “cut line” for layoffs will fall.

We will make our best effort to ensure the information displayed on PeopleNet is as accurate and up-to-date as possible.

The committee continues to work on 2 very important issues that have yet to be finalized and which may impact individual decisions:

· Which positions are considered to be permanently eliminated and therefore be eligible for the severance provisions contained in the Collective Agreement. The committee will work to resolve this issue and communicate it to you on Friday of this week.

· New job assignments for employees who are above the “cut line” but are facing reassignment to a new department. The committee will be working on this issue over the next few weeks and will communicate with individuals as plans are developed.

Positions Being Impacted

The mill’s 2008 labour budget was developed based on the assumption that all machines would run throughout the year. Now that PM1 has been indefinitely curtailed and Kraft production slowed back, the following positions are being impacted as part of this cost reduction initiative. The mill’s budgeted employee levels will be reduced as a result.


PM1 operating crew + relief
31 positions

PM1 Sorter Feeder + relief
5 positions

Paper Machine / Finishing Utility
Increase of 3 positions

Paper Lab
1 position

Pulp Lab
1 position

Stock Prep Assistant + relief
5 positions

PM Clean-up / Utility
2 positions

Yard Shift Services
1 position

Fibre Supply: 3 jobs + relief
17 positions

PM2 6th Hand + relief
5 positions

Paper Machine Relief Supervisors
2 positions

Kraft Cooking Operator (already implemented)
5 positions


Positions Eliminated
Positions Remaining

20 positions

13 positions

9 positions

Instrument Mechanics
8 positions

11 positions

No reductions

Heavy Duty Mechanics
1 position

No reductions

2 positions

5 positions

Lubrication Mechanics
3 positions

Sheet Metal Mechanics
1 position

2 positions

Maintenance Labour
4 positions

1 position

This will result in a total decrease in budgeted hourly positions of 152 from the start of 2008. A reduction in budgeted staff positions of 10 brings the total reduction for Elk Falls to 162 positions.

On the hourly side, does this mean that 152 employees will be laid off? The answer is no. The TimberWest sawmill closure has increased our employee population. The Kraft Cooking employee reduction has not occurred yet. We’ve had employees resign, retire or go on LTD since January. All of these impact the actual number of layoffs that will occur.

In comparing our current number of employees to the revised labour budget, the analysis shows we actually have 163 employees more than required. But we also have employees on leave of absence or long term illness or injury that need to be replaced on a temporary basis.

At the current time, it appears that 141 layoffs will be required. That sets the initial “cut line” for layoff on the mill seniority list at February 1993. If your mill seniority is after this date, you are facing the prospect of layoff.

For employees just above the “cut line”, work opportunities may be temporary in nature if you are covering for an employee on a leave of absence or long term illness or injury.

Who Will Be Displaced or Laid Off?

The Committee has gone through an analysis of who will be impacted by these changes. The seniority provisions of the Collective Agreement will be the determining factor. In simple terms, the following seniority principles will be applied:

· You must have enough mill seniority to access work. If your mill seniority is less than February 1993, you will only be able to avoid layoff if you have a skill that cannot be replaced by a more senior mill employee. Examples of such a skill would be a trade qualification or a 3rd Class steam ticket.

· If you have enough mill seniority to work, then your department seniority will determine what work you will be doing. If you don’t have enough departmental seniority to stay in your department or trade, you will be displaced and assigned to work from the mill Spareboard or Papermaker Pool.

In looking at the mill wide seniority list, there are only about a dozen employees with less mill seniority than February 1993 who will continue to work. All have a trade qualification or ticket that cannot be replaced by a more senior employee.

For employees above the “cut line”, most will continue to work in their regular departments or trades. For those who are to be reassigned, training plans will be developed as quickly as possible. We will try to assign you to areas of the mill that you have experience in.

Timing of Reductions

The timing of the specific reductions is still being worked on. Some require changes in operating processes and procedures, training other employees or installation of new equipment.

We expect that the reductions in the Maintenance trades will be done in mid June.

In operations, many departments will have to make plans to train new employees. This will create work opportunities for some employees facing layoff during this transition period. We expect it will take 2 to 3 months to work through the training issues involved in the reassignment of people.

More information will be communicated as it becomes available.

Employees Facing Layoff

If you are facing layoff, please consider the following:

· If you are near the cut line, regular work may still become available depending on decisions that are made by others in the coming weeks. Even if you remain on layoff, work may still be available, although likely on a sporadic basis.

· Government funded retraining opportunities are available if you want to upgrade your education. Visit the website for further information and application forms.

· Going forward, you must be available for work. If you want to make yourself unavailable in order to pursue another work or education opportunity, you must apply for a leave of absence under the revised guidelines.

· Employees who are laid off will receive a separate notification that will outline benefits coverages and other important information.

· The Employee and Family Assistance Program (EFAP) continues to be available for employees who may need assistance in dealing with these changes. They can be contacted at 287-2266 or 338-4533.


The committee will continue to meet to resolve issues related to severances, retraining and implementation timelines. We will update you as plans develop.

This reduction will address removing the costs that are associated with PM1. The committee will continue discussions on achieving the $80 per tonne labour and salary cost objective.

Everyone recognizes that these are difficult times for individuals and families but it is critical that we continue to perform our work safely and efficiently. Watch out for each other. Distractions are numerous.

If you have any questions, please contract any member of your Standing Committee or your department manager.

Tom Paisley
General Manager
Ian Simpson
President , CEP 1123
Terry Hoff
President, CEP 630


  1. I know its not the same but HSPP just cut 6 janitors from 8 know all we have is 2 The welding shop is down to 3 welders the company is looking for 1 more. This is just the beginning more cuts to follow.

  2. what we did is a fourm for the pulp and paper mills in the west this should be set up western region so that we can stay in touch.