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Catalyst workers vote to strike


October 17, 2008
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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Employees at three of Catalyst Paper’s four BC pulp and paper mills have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike, the …
Employees at three of Catalyst Paper’s four BC pulp and paper mills have voted overwhelmingly to go on strike, the Vancouver Sun has reported. A breakdown in negotiations between the company and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union this month led to a vote of 95% to walk off the job.

“After 10 days, talks broke off when Catalyst revealed they were not in a position to accept an industry pattern agreement without first receiving significant concessions from our locals,” the Sun reported CEP national representative Mike Fenton as saying. However, Catalyst says the vote will not necessarily culminate in a strike, as the company has yet to put forward a settlement proposal and that discussions to date have centred on limited and local issues.

Disagreement lies in the company’s wish to implement changes at its Powell River, Elk Falls and Crofton facilities, while the union wants an agreement put in place that follows the pattern established by the majority of BC pulp companies. As the Sun noted, Catalyst’s fourth mill in BC, Port Alberni, took a different approach earlier this year by agreeing to concessions in exchange for the company agreeing to restart a shutdown paper machine.