The timing of releasing this on the blog was driven in part by the fact that Kim Pedersen emailed a copy of the letter that was addressed to Jim to all the supervisors in the mill. This was done before Jim had a chance to contact the executive. Jim was waiting until we heard if there was a meeting set up or not before communicating all of this. It is my opinion that this is a serious breach of protocol by Pedersen and Jim has spoken to him, with little response, and I think we will be pursuing this further.
There is a meeting set up with all the other locals next Tuesday in Vancouver to discuss the issue involved and your wage delegates will be attending.
The body of the letter is copied below and you can view the pdf of the letter here.
April 6, 2009
Mr. Jim Van Dusen
President, Local 592
Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (via email)
Union of Canada
Port Alberni Division
I am writing to ask for your help in providing Catalyst every opportunity to emerge from the current economic crisis with the financial strength necessary to be successful in the future. Over the last several months we have worked together to find ways to reduce our labour costs in order to become more competitive. We appreciate the effort that has been made in developing plans and overcoming challenges to achieve our $80 per tonne objective. This objective is paramount as our competitors continue to reduce their costs. As we indicated many times, the low cost mills will emerge from this recession/depression while higher cost mills will be casualties. It has been hard work done in good faith by many in the worst market environment anyone can recall. Unfortunately, the market situation has continued to deteriorate well beyond what many believed possible as print continues to move to electronic media, daily newspapers file for bankruptcy protection and advertising expenses shrink. Demand has declined for every product in every market as shown in the table below and it is our belief, supported by widely accepted industry perspectives, that the situation will continue to worsen.
(Note: There is a table here in the original that did not translate well to the blog so I removed it. See the original here. - Tim)
Clearly we need to continue to look at every opportunity to reduce our cost through this difficult period. A number of actions are already being implemented to help reduce our costs and to conserve cash including:
• Curtailment of production
• Freezing of non-union salaries for 2008 & 2009
• Continual focus on reducing SG&A
• Restriction placed on travel
• Reduced staff positions
• Municipal tax reduction
• Reduced training and consultant budget
Despite our collective best efforts, more must be done to ensure we have the strength to build our future. It is in this context that I respectfully request you seek the approval of your membership to forego the wage increase scheduled to take effect May 1, 2009. I would appreciate your response to this request as soon as possible.
President & Chief Executive Officer
Obviously, something of this magnitude has to be discussed with the other locals so we can formulate a joint plan that will be brought back to the membership.
I am going to close comments to this post due to the sensitivity of this request and the need to discuss it with the other locals first. Thank you for your understanding.