Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation has announced that the UNIK Local 34 union (UNIK) at the company’s La Tuque, Que., mill rejected a contract offer tendered on November 10, 2010. The offer was rejected by approximately 53 per cent of the voting union members.
Smurfit-Stone has confirmed its position with UNIK leadership that its current offer remains unchanged and a lockout will remain in effect until an agreement is reached.
On November 8, UNIK initiated a work stoppage at the La Tuque mill without notice, despite a meeting that was planned to take place on November 10, 2010, to continue with talks. The company has been attempting to negotiate with UNIK since early 2010. An agreement similar to the offer made to UNIK had already been reached some months ago with the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), which covers roughly 270 production and office employees at the mill. UNIK, an independent union not affiliated with the CEP, covers approximately 140 paper machine workers at the La Tuque mill.
“We have negotiated in good faith all along and again presented a fair and competitive offer,” says Pierre Pacarar, general manager of the La Tuque mill. “It is our position that the offer was consistent with other contracts in the industry and we are disappointed with this result.”
Throughout the lockout, management and a small group of hourly employees will ensure that the mill’s assets are maintained and the company continues to meet all of its environmental obligations.
Despite these recent events at the La Tuque mill, Smurfit-Stone remains well-positioned to meet both the current and ongoing needs of its customers. Proactive measures are being taken to ensure continuity of customer deliveries.
Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation is one of the industry’s leading integrated containerboard and corrugated packaging producers and one of the world’s largest paper recyclers. For more information, visit www.smurfit-stone.com.