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Smurfit-Stone La Tuque resumes production after 11-day lockout (December 01, 2010)


December 1, 2010
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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, whic…

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 lockout, saying it would not restart production until the union signed a new collective agreement.

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.

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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 one-third 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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