Unifor breaks off contract talks with Domtar in Dryden

DRYDEN — Unifor is taking the next step down a path which could lead to labour action at the mill in Dryden.

The union which represents more than 450 pulp mill and woodlands employees at Domtar is asking for conciliation after stepping away from the bargaining table this week.

Stephen Boon, a national representative for Unifor, said they ran into a bit of an impasse on some local issues.

“So we broke off, walked away from the table and applied for conciliation,” Boon said. “We will wait for conciliation officer to be appointed. Reconvene with a conciliation officer, probably sometime in late December, early January and then give it another opportunity.”

Boon said that if a conciliation doesn’t work for local issues and the pattern isn’t in place then the union will take the next step.

“[If issues remained unresolved] we will be setting up information meetings with our membership and conducting strike votes in preparation for some strike action,” he said.

When asked for more details about the local issues, Boon said since they are still bargaining, “we don’t get into divulging all the details of the talks because they are still ongoing.”

Unifor said half the members belong to Local 105, which includes production, maintenance, and office members and the other half belong to Local 324 which covers woodlands harvesting, chipping, and trucking members.

The last collective agreements for both Locals expired at the end of August this year.

Domtar has not responded yet to request for comment.

Eric Shih, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source