Resolute Forest Products and Communications Energy and Paperworkers Union locals 92 and 306 have reached an agreement that will see the restart of a paper machine at the Fort Frances mill.
More than 40 employees are to be recalled on July 17 to run No. 7 paper machine for up to 12 weeks.
Citing challenging market conditions, Resolute shut down the kraft mill and one paper machine in Fort Frances in February, and laid off almost 240 staff and unionized employees.
CEP national representative Stephen Boon said Thursday that “we are pleased to see over 40 CEP members in Fort Frances get recalled for up to two or three months when No. 7 paper machine restarts in mid-July, but some serious concerns arose due to the temporary nature of this recall.
“Resolute required the (manpower) to run No. 7 machine, but many of our laid-off members have also found part-time and full-time alternate employment since February while waiting to see how the Fort Frances operations might be repositioned over the next year.
“We could not agree to force a laid-off member to quit a new job to come back to the mill for temporary work, and so through ongoing discussions with Resolute, both CEP locals have now negotiated a recall protocol for manning the No. 7 paper machine that not only confirms all provisions of the contract apply for this restart, but it also ensures the recall option for our laid-off members is voluntary and does not negatively impact their seniority, future recall rights or severance entitlements.”
Resolute spokesman Pierre Choquette said “this restart, albeit temporary, demonstrates good faith” by the company regarding a commitment made last November, that it would monitor market conditions and respond accordingly.
“It is however a temporary restart, and this is a clear indication of how competitive the market is and how volatile the demand for these grades is,” Choquette said.
“The company continues to look at how this site can be repositioned, particularly with regard to the kraft mill,” he said.