Nova Scotia

NewPage workers postpone meeting because of new information

A meeting of workers at the former NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill in Cape Breton to discuss a controversial offer to take over the mill has been postponed.
NewPage Port Hawkesbury workers will discuss takeover deal Sunday. (CBC)

A meeting of workers at the former NewPage Port Hawkesbury mill in Cape Breton to discuss a controversial offer to take over the mill has been postponed.

The plan was for the union to meet with its members Saturday afternoon to discuss the offer from Pacific West Commercial Corp.

But Steve MacDougall,  the recording secretary with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 972, said they have received new information from the company and the meeting has been postponed until Sunday.

There's no word on whether that new information means the contract offer has been changed.

Hundreds of members the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union Local 972 got their first look at the contract offer on Thursday night.

The contract offer said 229 unionized employees will be offered work if the mill is restarted, down from about 600 employees when the mill shut down in September.

The collective agreement would last for 10 years — until Dec. 31, 2022 — if it is ratified. A company spokesman said the workers have until Thursday to decide whether to accept the offer.

The offer does not include inheriting the mill's four pensions plans, which are underfunded by approximately $130 million.

The mill closed after struggling with soaring fuel, electricity costs, a strong Canadian dollar and declining demand.

Pacific West Commercial Corp., which is associated with Stern Partners Inc., said if the mill  is restarted, workers would receive generally the same wages.

The Nova Scotia government has spent $27 million to keep the plant ready for a new owner.

 

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