Pressure continues to mount for Cascades Containerboard to bargain in good faith and agree to a first labor contract with more than 100 workers at its Niagara Falls, N.Y. manufacturing facility.
IAM Canadian General Vice President David Chartrandrecently joined the chorus of labor and political leaders urging the Québec-based manufacturer to work toward a contract with its New York state workers.
“It’s frustrating and embarrassing to see a Québec flagship act in this way, especially since Québecers are shareholders in the company through the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec,” Chartrand said. “All workers deserve to be treated with respect and fairness, whether they are from Québec, New York State or elsewhere. We stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers and support them in their struggle.”
Chartrand’s comments come just days after U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) urged Cascades to negotiate in good faith with its Niagara Falls employees.
The facility’s group of more than 100 workers voted to join the Machinists Union in April 2019, and have been attempting to bargain for a fair contract for more than two years.
Members recently rallied to call for a first contract. It has now been more than two years since the National Labor Relations Board certified Cascades workers’ vote to join the IAM in June 2019. It is highly unusual for companies to delay bargaining to this extent after workers organize with the IAM.
Working conditions at the facility are key issues for Cascades employees.
IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President Brian Bryant has called Cascades’ actions as “shameful” and vowed that the IAM “will continue to mobilize to help our brothers and sisters at Cascades secure a first contract.”
Such negotiations are unusual, IAM District 65 Directing Business Representative Ron Warner told Le Journal de Montreal.
“This kind of thing normally takes 6 to 12 months to settle. Not two years as is currently the case,” Warner told the publication.
Other lawmaker support for IAM workers includes U.S. Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) who recently wrote a letter to Cascades President Charles Malo, urging the company to “negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement expeditiously.”