Canfor Pulp makes tentative deals with CEP, PPWC union workers at two pulp facilities in Prince George, British Columbia; both contracts involve five-year deals

PRINCE GEORGE, British Columbia , July 13, 2012 (press release) – Canfor's combined pulp operations have new deals tentatively in place with unionized staff.

The members of Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Union - Bill Hickey Local 603 are employed at the company's Northwood facility as well as running the paper machine at the PG Pulp and Paper operation.

Meanwhile the Pulp, Paper and Woodworkers of Canada (PPWC) - Local 9 have jurisdiction over the pulp aspect of PG Pulp and Paper's activities, and at the Intercontinental Pulp facility next door. On Tuesday they wrapped up a month of negotiations with a draft worthy of membership examination, said their officials.

Both deals are proposing a five-year pact, the details of which were not disclosed by any of the parties involved, pending the outcomes of the votes. For many years, the two unions at the three facilities have inked nearly identical deals with Canfor. Agreement by both union's membership would see that prevail until at least 2017.

"I think it was one of the better negotiations I've ever been involved with," said CEP local president Dwaine Patterson. "It was very respectful and appropriate for our times. I sincerely believe it strikes a good bargain for both parties, and it's good for the community. It is a positive step forward and we consider it a good contract proposal."

PPWC national first vice president Frank Robertson said their 425 members had until this coming Wednesday and Thursday to read and discuss the proposal. On those days the vote would be held.

CEW workers had a couple of times - 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. - to attend the the Nelly's Pub / Northwood Inn complex on the Hart Highway and mark their ballots.

The previous collective agreement was a four-year pact that expired this year.

Canfor Pulp's vice president of human resources Onkar Athwal echoed Patterson's view that the talks were progressive.

"We certainly are happy to reach such an amicable settlement proposal," Athwal said. "We too feel it was a positive negotiation. It was very professionally handled by all concerned."

Should the agreements pass, the deals would be implemented in short order. Should one or both be rejected by the respective memberships, the negotiations would be renewed.

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