Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, 19 March 2012 – Catalyst Paper reached new labor agreements with unions representing more than 1000 paper and pulp workers at the company’s Crofton, Port Alberni, and Powell River mills. The new contracts will go into effect at the end of the current contract on 30 April 2012.
“Approval of the new labor agreements lets everyone know that the people who make up Catalyst are taking the actions necessary to save jobs and ensure we have a viable and competitive business for the future,” said Kevin J. Clarke, president and chief executive officer. “We appreciate there is still an enormous amount of work to do to complete the restructuring plan that will enable the company to exit creditor protection on solid footing going forward.”
The agreements, which will be effective from 01 May 2012 to 30 April 2017, include a 10% reduction in hourly rates along with various adjustments to vacation, health benefits, and work rules necessary to provide Catalyst with a competitive labor cost structure. The agreements also maintain hourly retiree health benefits. Annual savings in the range of CAD 18-20 million are expected.
The Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP) locals 1, 76, 592, 686, and 1132 represent 700 employees at the three mills; the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers Union of Canada (PPWC) local 2 represents approximately 380 employees at the Crofton pulp mill.
Catalyst Paper manufactures diverse specialty mechanical printing papers, newsprint, and pulp. Its customers include retailers, publishers, and commercial printers in North America, Latin America, the Pacific Rim, and Europe. With four mills, located in British Columbia, Canada, and Arizona, USA, Catalyst has a combined annual production capacity of 1.8 million metric tons. The company is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada, and is ranked by Corporate Knights magazine as one of the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada.