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September 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Union signs, Fraser Papers will restart Edmundston pulp mill

Union signs, Fraser Papers will restart Edmundston pulp mill

EDMUNSTON, N.B. — Fraser Papers Inc. announced Aug. 11 that Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 29 in Edmundston, N.B., has ratified an agreement that will see the Edmundston pulp and energy complex return to full operation. The three-year agreement provides for a more competitive labour cost structure with future wage increases tied directly to the profitability of the company’s East Papers Operations.

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“We are pleased that we could reach an agreement that better positions the mill to be competitive in these difficult market circumstances and into the future,” says Peter Gordon, CEO of Fraser Papers. “I would like to thank all involved for their hard work during these sometimes difficult negotiations, including mill management, our hourly employees, local politicians, and particularly Premier Shawn Graham for providing the leadership, focus, and a path forward to the community and employees at a most critical time.”

The fate of the mill hung in the balance for a few days, after the union voted on Aug. 6 to reject the company’s final contract offer. According to the local Telegraph-Journal newspaper, union members voted against a new four-year contract, which involved a 4% pay cut, with 54% rejecting the offer.

Fraser Papers had said prior to the vote that it would have to permanently close the mill if the union rejected the offer.

The union later reconsidered its vote and reached an agreement with the company. The mill was expected to restart during the week of August 30.

Fraser Papers is an integrated specialty paper company which produces a broad range of specialty packaging and printing papers. The company has operations in New Brunswick, Maine, New Hampshire and Quebec. It is currently operating under creditor protection.


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