NS: NewPage union digs into new proposal

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By The Cape Breton Post

About 16 days of negotiations between the union and representatives of Pacific West Commercial Corp. have taken place to date.

[POINT TUPPER, NS] — Archie MacLaughlin, first vice-president with Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Local 972, said Tuesday that 16 days of negotiations between the union and representatives of Pacific West Commercial Corp., headed by Ron Stern, have taken place to date.

“Stern gave us a proposal, I guess, and we’re going to present it to the membership and they’ll tell us what their thoughts are and see where we go. I don’t want to prejudge what they may or may not tell us to do,” MacLaughlin said.

“We covered a lot of ground in 16 days,” he said, calling the negotiations tough.

MacLaughlin said it’s time to bring members up to speed as to where things stand in the negotiations.

“Our members have been in the dark so long now their eyes are getting sore,” said union recording secretary Steve MacDougall.

Stern’s representatives did not ask the union to present the offer to the members.

“The people he’s got negotiating for him have presented some stuff to us, so I mean it would be only fair for us to bring that back to the membership so they can have a look and see. We need some direction from them,” MacLaughlin said.

Members could direct the executive to go back to the negotiating table or could decide that they want a chance to vote on the proposal. A vote would not be expected to happen on Thursday.

No details of the proposal are being released before it is presented to the members. MacLaughlin also wouldn’t say whether or not it’s something that the negotiating committee would recommend the members accept.

The sides have agreed to a media blackout while talks are underway.

The mill has been shut down since last September. It is in court-ordered creditor protection while negotiations between Pacific West and the union, Nova Scotia Power and the province proceed.

The meeting will take place Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Port Hawkesbury fire hall.

Stern’s office has indicated he won’t make any comment on the sale process until all negotiations are complete.

Organizations: NewPage union, Pacific West Commercial, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Cape Breton, Port Hawkesbury

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