Unions meet to develop bargaining strategy
By Cindy Macdonald
Unifor and the Public and Private Workers of Canada (PPWC) recently met in Vancouver to prepare for bargaining in 2017. This is the third joint meeting of the two largest unions in Canada’s pulp and paper sector.
“It has been a great experience, bringing our two groups together again. We have formed a cohesive bond that will serve us well in the next round of bargaining. In unity there is strength!” said Gary Fiege, second vice-president of PPWC.
PPWC and Unifor say they have been very successful with pattern bargaining in maintaining common pension, wage, and benefit language in the collective agreements of both organizations. Under the Joint Pulp and Paper Caucus, the unions feel they are in a better position to face the growing challenges to the industry.
“Things are progressing as expected, so both unions will be well-prepared and united when we sit down with the employer next year,” said Scott Doherty, executive assistant to the Unifor national president.
The two groups have bargained separately since 2002 but have agreed to work together in the future. The groups already work cooperatively on the Pulp and Paper Industry Pension Plan and the Pulp and Paper Safety Conference.
The PPWC represents thousands of workers across British Columbia. Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 310,000 workers. It was formed when the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers unions merged.