Nova Scotia

Stora dispute has residents on edge

Port Hawkesbury residents are anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of contract talks between Stora Enso and its workers.

Port Hawkesbury residents are anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of contract talks between Stora Enso and its workers.

Negotiations between the paper company and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union were supposed to end Monday but were extended another day.

About 600 unionized workers at the plant in Port Hawkesbury could legally strike after serving 48-hours notice. A lockout is also possible.

"I don't think there are too many people in the area who are not in some way affected by Stora," said Hugh MacEachern, a town barber for 35 years.

MacEachern has talked with hundreds of people about what the company means for the area and says everyone is worried about the uncertainty of a possible work stoppage.

Others, like Laurel Brown, worry that it may even get to the point where Stora pulls up stakes and moves out of the community.

"That's a real threat too because it does supply not only jobs for the people who work there but for people like my husband and others who are pulp cutters," Brown said.

Hundreds of people in eastern Nova Scotia are involved in either cutting, selling or trucking wood to Stora.

Although talks continue, both sides appear ready for a shutdown. The union has erected shelters near the plant, while the company has put up fencing around its property.

The outstanding issues include contracting out, seniority and the possible loss of clerical jobs to the United States.

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