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Steelworkers, NorSask Forest Achieve Groundbreaking Recognition and Reconciliation Language in Five-year Agreement

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MEADOW LAKE, Saskatchewan — The United Steelworkers (USW) Native 1-184 and NorSask Forest Merchandise have concluded a groundbreaking, five-year collective bargaining settlement for members on the sawmill’s operation, 256 kilometres northwest of Prince Albert, Sask.

The brand new settlement incorporates provisions for substantial wage will increase, a signing bonus and substantial enhancements in advantages, contracting-out language, grievance language and the membership changing into a part of the Steelworker Humanity Fund in addition to recognizing Nationwide Indigenous Peoples Day (June 21) as a brand new statutory vacation.

Nonetheless, essentially the most impactful language negotiated between the 2 events is the groundbreaking recognition and reconciliation language. It reads:

“NorSask Forest Merchandise LP and the United Steelworkers union enter into this Settlement recognizing and acknowledging that we function on the standard lands of the Cree and Assiniboine signatories of Treaty 6 devoted to making sure that the spirit of Treaty 6 is honoured and revered.
The events to this Settlement perceive {that a} main goal of MLTC possession is to assist financial and social improvement in Indigenous communities. The events to this Settlement admire that the Firm is a main employer in our area, and should work proactively in direction of eradicating obstacles that hinder applicable participation of Indigenous peoples within the NorSask workforce.”

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The 2 events agreed so as to add the language to the collective settlement early on within the bargaining course of. The three-day bargaining session was led by Jeff Bromley, USW Wooden Council Chair, together with Paul Hallen, USW Native 1-184 President and Chris Thiemann, USW Native 1-184 Vice-President, and a three-person bargaining committee from the sawmill operation together with Chandler Mysko, Terry Murray and Don Schoen. Each Chandler and Terry are Metis Steelworkers and are a part of the 70% of the workforce at NorSask which are Indigenous (Metis and First Nations).

“The not too long ago ratified collective settlement with USW conveys Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) shareholders’ dedication to NorSask workers. The spirit and intent of this settlement is to create optimistic long run social, cultural and financial advantages for the area and its folks, workers and shareholders whereas guaranteeing the continued competitiveness and sustainability of NorSask Forest Merchandise LP,” mentioned Kelly Lehoux, Normal Supervisor of NorSask Forest Merchandise.

“When the language was proposed, it was a simple resolution to make and our committee was fully in favour of the proposal,” mentioned Bromley. “It actually put a optimistic and respectful tone in our bargaining course of given the tragic information the week prior of the kids buried on the web site of the previous Kamloops Indian Residential College. There may be a lot devastating information in regards to the colonial historical past and the devastating impression on First Nations in our nation, agreeing to this was a step in the suitable course.”

The brand new five-year settlement was ratified on June 9, 2021, in Meadow Lake by an amazing majority of USW members on the operation.

“Our union has an extended and proud historical past of representing the employees at NorSask Forest Merchandise at Meadow Lake and we now have maintained wonderful industrial relations with NorSask Forest Merchandise,” mentioned Paul Hallen, USW Native 1-184 President. “Individuals are a key useful resource and we’re pleased with the contributions our members have made to the sawmill’s success. We sit up for the continued optimistic relationship and the continued success of NorSask Forest Merchandise.”

“This recognition and acknowledgement language are small steps in attempting to heal and transfer ahead. We can not change the previous, however initiatives equivalent to this one in Meadow Lake or the groundbreaking settlement between USW Native 1-1937 and the Huu-ay-aht First Nation on Vancouver Island, B.C., can go a great distance in shaping a extra optimistic future,” added Bromley.

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NorSask Forest Merchandise is owned by the MLTC and operates in Meadow Lake, Sask., using 85 USW members. Not solely is it the biggest First Nations-owned sawmill in Canada, earnings generated assist financial improvement, social packages, employment and infrastructure within the 9 First Nations communities represented by the MLTC.

The USW represents over 14,000 members within the forestry sector in Canada.

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Jeff Bromley, USW Wooden Council Chair, 250-426-9870 (cell),
Shannon Devine, USW Communications, 416-894-7118 (cell),

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