Steelworkers Reach First Contract with Pastway Planing in Combermere

COMBERMERE, Ont. – United Steelworkers (USW) members employed at Pastway Planing and Wood Preserving in Combermere have ratified their first collective agreement with the company.

The three-year agreement includes across-the-board wage increases of 7.5% over the term of the contract and several improvements in terms and conditions of employment. The contract also provides additional raises totaling up to 16% for some employees on the lower end of the wage scale.

“We work hard and we’re proud of the product we make, but before we joined the union we were getting squeezed with no raises,” said Jason Browne, bargaining unit chair for the union members at Pastway.

“When we decided to form a union we thought, ‘finally we have hope.’ Our union representatives worked with us and helped us negotiate a fair contract,” Browne said.

The 58 Pastway employees joined the USW last June. They operate a wood planing mill and treatment plant in the Madawaska Valley of Renfrew County in eastern Ontario. The plant produces pressure-treated lumber for consumer use.

Pastway Planing and Wood Preserving is owned by Vancouver-based Canwel Corporation, a large player in the building products industry.

“Joining the Steelworkers allowed us to engage in real negotiations with the employer to achieve a contract that ensures a workplace that is fair for everyone and that makes real progress,” Browne said.

“For example, we were able to negotiate our first-ever allowance to help pay for safety boots that we need to do our jobs,” he noted.

The new agreement was ratified by 70 per cent of union members in a vote Tuesday. The contract includes numerous clauses entrenching terms and conditions of work, such as benefits, vacations and seniority rights.

“This collective agreement recognizes our members’ key contributions to their employer’s success and it will help build a relationship that will be mutually beneficial for the company, the workers, their families and their community,” said USW Ontario Director Marty Warren.

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For further information:

Marty Warren, USW District 6 Director, 416-243-8792, mwarren@usw.ca
David Lipton, USW Staff Representative, 613-859-8403, 613-260-7205, dlipton@usw.ca
Bob Gallagher, USW Communications, 416-544-5966, 416-434-2221, bgallagher@usw.ca

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