White Birch Paper suspends labor negotiations aimed at reopening Stadacona paper mill in Quebec City, Quebec, says union official; talks also included papermaker's mills in Riviere-du-Loup and Gatineau, Quebec

LOS ANGELES , March 2, 2012 () –

Labor negotiations aimed at possibly reopening the Stadacona paper mill in Quebec City, Quebec, have been suspended by White Birch Paper Co., a union official said on March 2, The Canadian Press (CP) reported the same day.

The U.S.-based papermaker had returned to the bargaining table shortly after it announced in January that it would permanently close the already idled mill as a result of the union’s refusal to accept its final contract offer.

Renaud Gagne, a union spokesperson, said that he was extremely disappointed with White Birch Paper’s decision to suspend the talks. Since negotiations resumed, the union has agreed to give up C$60 million in benefits and 20% in pay, he said, reported the CP.

In addition to the Stadacona mill, the talks had also focused on White Birch Paper’s two other mills in Quebec, one in Riviere-du-Loup and one in Gatineau.

White Birch Paper’s final offer, which would have slashed wages and pension benefits, was rejected in a vote by 600 union members.

The mill generates C$225 million in economic spin-off benefits for the community and deserves to be kept open, said Gagne. He urged White Birch to specify what it needs to save the mill, the CP reported.

The Stadacona mill makes newsprint, directory paper and paperboard.

When White Birch Paper filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2012, it was North America’s second-largest newsprint producer, with 1,300 employees at three pulp and paper mills and a sawmill in Quebec and a fourth pulp and paper mill in Virginia, reported the CP.

The primary source of this article is The Canadian Press, Toronto, Ontario, on March 2, 2012.


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