Norske, CEP Leaders Reach Labor Accord

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NorskeCanada Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., announced Thursday an agreement with leaders of the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union on a new contract 10 months before the current one expires. The 2,300 members working for Norske are to vote on the pact, terms of which were not released.

Norske did say that the deal includes a pay raise and further compensation “as product prices recover and as the company’s cost competitiveness improves,” and that it will serve as a basis for negotiations with its other unions.

The company further noted the two sides’ success in reaching agreement in a timely fashion, unlike the earlier owner of its mills, Fletcher Challenge, which experienced a costly 10-month strike in 1998. Referring to the CEP as “an enlightened union that understood the risks” to both sides, NorskeCananda CEO Russell J. Horner said early settlement should help in winning contract sales with large customers that need certainty of supply.

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