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Canadian/U.S. Resolute Workers Coordinate Activities

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U.S. and Canadian union members who work for Resolute Forest Products (formerly AbitibiBowater) have" joined forces to speak with one voice to the company," according to United Steel Workers International (USW) and the Communications, Energy, and Paperworkers Union of Canada (CEP). Some 100 union delegates from 10 Canadian Resolute mills in Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and four U.S. mills in Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama met this past weekend in Montreal. The delegates adopted a solidarity pledge to coordinate activities and work together, leading to the 2014 pattern and master agreement negotiations with the company in both countries.

"Resolute is on notice that American and Canadian workers will not compete against each other," said USW VP Jon Geenen. "We have decided instead to make sure that we are informed and coordinated across the border and local-to-local about how this company is treating workers and communities."

CEP National President Dave Coles added that "we believe it was the sacrifices of our members in both countries that made it possible for AbitibiBowater to restructure and become Resolute. We have every right now to insist on consultation and discussion of alternatives before more corporate decisions are taken that affect our members and their communities."

At the two-day joint meeting in Montreal, local delegates reported to each other on cost reduction and job cut demands by the company at every location, often on the basis of comparisons with other mills in each country.

A statement adopted December 18 called for an end to "job blackmail." The joint statement noted that "USW and CEP members at Resolute Forest Products today demand respect and fairness. We reject absolutely any form of contrived intimidation between workers and mills. We insist that the company respect our bargaining caucuses, our pattern agreements, and end any form of job blackmail between the local unions."


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