One of the (too) many blogs I follow is Dead Tree Edition, a blog that addresses issues around the paper and printing industries. Catalyst does get mentioned from time to time and the recent filings they made got a post all to its own. It seems their statement caused some confusion out there in the real world. I think we kinda, sorta know what's going on regarding the possible reorganization, but even our knowledge is limited and we'll just have to be patient to see how it all plays out.
On another related issue, it appears that Crofton is prepared to vote on a new deal tomorrow. We'll have to see how that goes. Rumors are flying that they got a better deal but I won't give that any credit until I see it in print. There is always the possibility that there are some major differences in local agreements but that is true of us and Powell as well. For instance, our local agreements deal with the A4 agreement and probably a few other differences that other mills don't have. I think that if there are any benefits that we should all have there shouldn't be a big issue in consolidating those with the other mills. If, by some stretch, they have achieved a better main wage deal, then that certainly will have to be revisited. We were assured, on more than one occasion, that the main wage agreement would be the same across the board.
There seems to be some rumblings and discussion on the cancellation of the A4 agreement (should the restructuring go through). It seems many do not now like some of the resultant consequences. I'm not sure who all was canvassed by the wage delegates prior to negotiating but I know there was a pretty clear message from a majority of tour workers to get rid of it. Of course, the main concern for tour workers was the 5 shift schedule and total absence of any discretionary time off. The tradeoff of the loss of pay for knowledge was fully expected by me but apparently not by many others. There are always tradeoffs when entering or leaving an agreement and we all need to think carefully before we start clamoring to get the A4 agreement back.
Since there are issues that affect everyone, it would be hard for me to justify that only tour workers should have a say in this, but, my main objection to the A4 agreement four years ago was the impact it had on the tour worker. I know a lot of steam plant guys want the freedom to schedule holidays again, despite the loss of pay for knowledge (and many in the steam plant are affected big time). So the cliche, "be careful what you ask for" is highly appropriate at this time. Also, we need to continue to think about each other and not just about ourselves. Hard to do, but I believe it to be a basic union principle and a basic principle of human life.
(As always, this post is entirely my own opinion and in no way reflects any official position of either Local 592, CEP or Catalyst Paper, Port Alberni Division.)