DUNCAN BAY LOCAL 1123
March 23, 2006
CEP Western Region V.P.
540 - 1199 W. Pender
Vancouver, BC V6E 2R1
At our March 20th general membership meeting, we discussed the recently signed CEP 470 / JVD "Pulp & Paper Survival Agreement". The membership of Local 1123 has asked me to relay to you and others in our industry, their disgust, that the CEP would bargain such a substandard agreement knowing full well the impacts that it will have on all Pulp & Paper locals in our province.
We have always had fights with the employer over the use of contractors in our mill. In 1994 when the employer started pushing harder for flexibility, we knew it would ultimately lead to the downsizing of our maintenance workforce, which could mean more and more contractors.
As you will remember, the 94 negotiations weren't completed until Feb 95, and one of the reasons why, was our position that the employer had to give assurances they wouldn't replace our maintenance workforce with contractors. We ended up getting some comfort from the Code of Ethics Letter of Understanding, (attached) which ensured that if a non-union contractor came on site to do work, they would be required to pay their employees an hourly rate equal to what mill employees would be paid. As well, there would be contributions made to the local union, and into the Pulp & Paper Industry Pension Plan.
Over the last few years at Wage Caucus, delegates have heard your message repeated time and time again about the importance of policing the employer to ensure they are living up to the C.O.E. Our Local, like many others in the Province, has pushed back hard using the C.O.E., we know the work is ours and recognize this as an important tool for keeping it.
We have always taken exception when other "legitimate" Trade Unions bargained rates below ours in order to enable their contractors to avoid Code of Ethics payments. You, as our chief negotiator during the last round of bargaining, knew that was an issue because our caucus had an item on the agenda trying to ensure all contractors coming on site would follow the Code of Ethics.
It's a bitter pill to swallow when another union does something that undermines our collective agreement, but when it's our own Union doing it.... Tell us Dave: How do you reconcile that with the objectives laid out in article 2.01 of our constitution?
Dave: What is the ultimate goal here? Why or how can you allow CEP 470 to ratify an agreement that effectively renders the Code of Ethics language useless. Our membership would like to know the answer to these questions, and they would like to hear them directly from you. Therefore we are requesting you attend our next regular General Meeting. It will be held Tuesday April 18th at 7:00 pm in the Labour Centre in Campbell River. If this time doesn't work for you, please give us a time that will work. This issue is important enough that we will call a special meeting to hear your response.
I look forward to your response.
President, CEP 1123