The Militant (logo)  
   Vol. 67/No. 35           October 13, 2003  
Paper workers in Vancouver vote
for contract after 4-month strike
(back page)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia—Workers at the Eurocan pulp and paper mill in Kitimat voted 213-74 in favor of a proposed contract on September 15. The vote came after a nearly four-month strike over safety and benefits, in which the union also demanded protection of seniority rights and the elimination of job classifications that restricted more senior workers from applying for higher-paying jobs.

Terms of the agreement are not available. In an interview with the Militant, Communications, Energy and Paperworkers (CEP) Local 298 president Peter King said, “The union wanted no concessions and that’s what we got.”

A company official said the contract was “modeled on agreements reached at other mills in the region,” according to a Reuters dispatch, that have tied increases in wages to the “health” of the companies’ paper sales.

During the strike, the unionists extended a hand of solidarity to workers at the Carnaby sawmill that closed two years ago. Workers there are members of CEP Local 404. “The company owes $3.7 million to the workers,” said King. “They keep saying that they’ll reopen the plant, that the workers are on layoff, to justify them not paying.” On August 9 two strikers from Local 298, Jack McCamy and Kevin Read, were arrested at the Carnaby saw mill as they joined Local 404 members in blocking the removal of equipment from the mill that the company had sold off.

“What’s happening to them today could be us tomorrow,” said King. “This fight has become a priority for us.”  
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