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Smurfit-Stone La Tuque resumes production after 11-day lockout (November 26, 2010)


November 26, 2010
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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A conflict between Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. and one of the unions at the company’s La Tuque, Que., facility is resolved. The situation began with a 48-hour strike on Nov. 8 by Unik Local 34, which represents 140 paper machine workers at…

A conflict between Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. and one of the unions at the company’s La Tuque, Que., facility is resolved. The situation began with a 48-hour strike on Nov. 8 by Unik Local 34, which represents 140 paper machine workers at the containerboard mill. Smurfit-Stone proceeded to halt production and implement a lock-out, saying it would not restart production until it had signed a new collective agreement with the union.

The work stoppage lasted 11 days, with workers returning to the facility on Nov. 19. Workers from local 34 initially rejected the company’s contract offer, but a second vote several days later swung in favor of the deal.

There was no change in the offer between the two votes, but local newspapers report there was tremendous pressure on the locked-out workers to accept the deal. Unik Local 34 represents only about 1/3 of the workers at the mill; 270 other workers represented by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 530 had accepted the contract offers months earlier. As well, the Smurfit-Stone mill is one of the largest enterprises in the region and locals were concerned about the effect the lockout would have on the local economy.


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