Eleventh-hour negotiations have succeeded in keeping about 350 to 400 Resolute Forest Product forestry workers in Thunder Bay and Ignace on the job.
Bruce Frost, third vice-president business rep for the United Steelworkers Local 1-2010, on Monday said the union reached a deal with the company on a new contract, which workers overwhelmingly accepted.
“We sat down with the mediator and the company last Tuesday and we worked out a deal that was ratified by the crews in both Ignace and Thunder Bay on the weekend and it was accepted by 83 per cent,” Frost said.
“It’s a pretty good deal. It gives us back some of the stuff we conceded in previous agreements when Abitibi-Bowater was in trouble. So we’ve gained back some of those concessions, as well as an eight per cent wage increase over the term (of the contract).”
The deal is for four years.
“It’s not everything we wanted, but it’s certainly stepping in the right direction.”
Workers, who work for 11 different contractors as well as Resolute Forest Products, were eligible to go on strike at midnight on Monday.
Frost said the deal made improvements to the long-term disability plan, unpaid riding time and the number of hours a truck driver has to work before overtime kicks in.