Workers at the Resolute Forest Products Thunder Bay sawmill are getting a significant pay hike as the result of the reopening and extension of the current collective agreement.
Over 200 members of Unifor Local 5025 have voted in favour of the new deal that extends the existing contract by four years, to September 2028.
It means they'll receive an average pay increase of 24 per cent over the life of the collective agreement, plus improvements in various benefits. This includes all the provisions of Unifor's Eastern Canada pulp and paper pattern deal that was reached last spring and ratified by workers at other Resolute operations.
"Inflation has had a big impact on our members and their families, and we have seen a number of generous forestry contracts recently negotiated at Unifor-represented mills both with Resolute and their competitors across Northwestern Ontario," union spokesperson Gary Bragnalo said.
In a statement Sunday, Bragnalo added "We commend Resolute for addressing these concerns and agreeing to reopen the current deal in Thunder Bay in order to implement Unifor's Eastern Canada pattern."
He said the contract extension provides for substantial improvements in language "and some of the best forestry pay raises we've seen in several decades, but at the same time it provides Resolute with long-term stability and an improved ability to retain and recruit talent at the Thunder Bay sawmill."
Key terms of the deal include:
- Salary adjustments of $2.50/hr for all production members, and $3.50/hr for members in trades over the term
- Additional general wage hikes of 3 per cent in 2024, $1.30/hr in 2025, 3 per cent in 2026 and $1.30/hr in 2027
- Total wage increases averaging 24 per cent over the term
- Significant enhancements to group benefits including vision, dental, life insurance and long-term disability
- A third week of vacation after two years of service
- Double time for Sunday overtime after four hours
Unifor is Canada's largest union in the private sector, and represents 315,000 workers including 24,000 in the forest industry.