Nackawic Deal Ratified- Hopes Alive to Open in 2005

December 21, 2004


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Nackawic Deal Ratified- Hopes Alive to Open in 2005
Nackawic Deal Ratified- Hopes Alive to Open in 2005
dated December 21, 2004

Leslie MacNeil
CAW Local 219

       "We have to look at the greater good and what this means for Nackawic and the surrounding area. I voted to ratify it because I think it's a good thing but I don't think I stand a prayer to get back to my job."

       Leslie MacNeil summed up what her brothers and sisters in CAW local 219 were feeling, when they voted 98 per cent in favour of a five year agreement with Tembec, the prospective buyer of the now bankrupt St. Anne Pulp Mill in Nackawic, New Brunswick. Local president Barry Elsliger says the proposed purchase will save some of 400 jobs at the mill, but how many remains a question mark.

 

 

Barry Elsliger
CAW Local 219 President

       "The CEO of the company stated that he looked at the 200 and said we might not be able to operate with that few people. So they are not sure in all of these things. I would not, having said that especially with the people with a little less seniority in this group I'm not suggesting that everybody is going back to work, because I think that is unrealistic, but the chances of it being over 200 is good."

       The role CAW's national office played was critical according to Jack MacIsaac, a 34 year veteran at the mill.

Jack MacIsaac
CAW Local 219

       So right now I think it's the best deal we could get, especially where our national president has been down. I've been here 34 years and we never had a national president in Nackawic, let alone somebody to sit in on negotiations. I think it is good, good for the community."

       The union agreement, according to CAW regional director Larry Wark, was the first of a number of hurdles to be overcome, including the 40 million dollar shortfall in the pension plan of the bankrupt company.

Larry Wark
CAW Regional Director

       "The legislation that was passed that Barry mentioned on Thursday in the Legislature now gives the government the ability to allow the union and Tembec to come up and show the government of the province that we can come up with a way of funding the plan - that you never wind it up. Because if you wind it up everybody gets killed. There are no winners here in a wind up."

       In the meantime, Elsliger says the picket line at the mill will remain in place.

Barry Elsliger
CAW Local 219 President

       "We are really the only security there and we don't want anyone going in there and causing damage to the plant in the middle of the night or any other time. At least until some proper security is there we're going to keep some kind of a presence."

       With renewed hope for the mill the mood around Nackawic at Christmas time is not as dismal as it was when the mill shut down in September.

Jack MacIsaac
CAW Local 219

       "With this announcement it will make it that much easier. Everybody will be less stressed and it will be a good Christmas."

CAW "Fighting Back Makes a Difference."


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