Big job losses at mill: sources

Gary Kean
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The Corner Brook Pulp and Paper mill has been churning out more than paper in the last day or so amid talk of major job cuts coming down the pipe soon.

Sources have told The Western Star that as many as 90 jobs could be lost at Corner Brook Pulp and Paper in the coming week. — Star photo by Gary Kean

The Western Star was unable to confirm anything with the paper company, its parent company Kruger in Montreal, the local unions or the provincial government, but sources have told the newspaper there will be a significant announcement in the coming week.

One source has said that there will be as many as 90 jobs lost. The source said the cuts will be across the board, affecting management positions as well as unionized jobs in the mill and in the woodlands operations.

The source also said the unions are expected to be officially notified of the cutbacks on Tuesday. Another source said the provincial government has been apprised of what the company has planned.

Unionized workers in the mill are already waiting to be repaid a 10 per cent deferral in wages they agreed to in 2010. Essentially a loan to the company to help ease the impact of the ongoing tough economic times the newsprint industry has been experiencing, the agreement was that the deferred wages would be paid back when the paper mill returned to profitability.

The paper mill is currently a two-machine operation employing about 500 people. It had four machines making newsprint less than five years ago, but shut down one machine indefinitely in November 2007 and another in the spring of 2009.

Those moves were followed by the cutting of 130 jobs in June 2009 and a two-week shutdown of the entire operation in October 2009.

Organizations: Kruger

Geographic location: Western Star, Montreal

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Recent comments

  • Vicki
    October 21, 2013 - 20:02

    Wow Dave for a minute there you sounded JUST like my boss with the big grade 11, when he's got nothing smart or funny to say..... Or Smithers...... Certainly, they're a lot alike. Jah se man! Lighten up!I'M the one with 2 degrees workin in THAT place. I accepted employment there. Not the other way around. AND ONLY Because I was told a load of fodder regarding my security and future. Dummy me for having faith that people don't lie to my face. Whats your beef pal? 5% not enough? Sheesh

  • Vicki
    October 21, 2013 - 20:01

    And Dave why don't you tell me why it is That none of these "big" mind you failing businesses aren't from Newfoundland. Incinuation is still racism bud........ And you threw the first slur....FYI "little" Dave..... I'm not as stupid as you and your cronies would like to believe. I m willing to bet I have more education than you and probably your whole family. Do your homework Before picking a fight you haven't got the knowledge or guns To win. I'm gonna go kill myself now trying to save Joes Billions...... And effect this, I assume YOUR hometown..... Not Mine........ You're welcome.

  • Vicki
    October 21, 2013 - 19:59

    Mr Kruger, like the rest of Quebec, wants to get rich off the trees and backs of NL but doesn't want to have to pay for it.

  • J. B.
    January 24, 2012 - 12:02

    Wake up Corner Brook and smell the coffee you are your own enemy !!! You support nothing new in this city , did you really think the paper mill would last forever because you are in Corner Brook !!! Yeah right!! When was the last time you all bought a new paper? Personally me on Thursdays for the fliers that it . Computers are in now and I do not have to pay a dollar for it and do not have to wait for it to be delivered .also environmentally friendly to boot.. Paper Mill is an eye sore to the city and if it does stay open clean it up. JB

    • B.J.
      January 26, 2012 - 08:28

      I find a couple things wrong with you comment: 1) First of all, I bought a new paper subscription not 6 months ago. 2) You do have to pay to get an online subscription to most papers, including the Western Star. 3) I dont ever have to wait for the paper to be delivered. I wake up at 7:30 and my paper is in the mailbox.

  • Tony Young
    January 23, 2012 - 09:27

    ABOUT TIME, so you actually think the closure of the mill in Stephenville was the best thing that ever happened to Stephenville? Are you serious? You think that families who remained in Stephenville and travel back and forth every month to AB for work is a good thing for the town of Stephenville? Do you also think that having to drive to Deer Lake to catch that flight is also the best thing that ever happened to Stephenville? Since the closure of the mill in Stephenville more and more people besides the ones who worked at the mill have gone to AB for work and their dollars have flowed back to the town. The town has become a sleeping town with no industry. Only for the college of the North atlantic head quarter, the town would be dead. The population of Stephenville has dropped by at least 1000 people since that mill closed. Again do you feel that is the best thing that could ever happen to the town? Families torn apart due to keeping food on the table is by no means a good thing for any town. I guess this explains the new non-stop flight announced by AC from Deer Lake to Goose Bay just two weeks before it will commence. The provincial government new for long ago this was coming and that is why it is funding the new route to AC, couldnt do the same for Stephenville with even an AC connection to Halifax to feed the need of workers trying to maintain their homes and familes in the town. More NL politics into play. Let it shut down while our people will do what they have to do in order to survive and if that means packing it up and leaving, so be it. I wish the mill in Corner Brook and the great people of Corner Brook a smooth ride as this mill gets closer to the end of operation. Because it certainly was not the best thing that happened to Stephenville and anyone who thinks it was is living in a bubble.

    • uphappy resident
      January 23, 2012 - 12:03

      These rumours were speculating last week and it was only a matter of time before someone went to the media. It's unfortunate the Kruger Company would not comment either way if this is fact or fiction. I guess all answers will be in the media by the end of the week. I know first hand the things going on behind mill doors and it's unfortunate that there is no money being put into the company and employees that keep it runny but I guess if the economy is changing and there is no money there to upkeep the actual work environments and give back to the employees, there is definately a lot of silliness that goes on for a big company that is unionized. Unions are not looking after their workers and no one wants to stand up against other workers or the company to better the conditions. Work conditions are unsaafe and hazordous in many ways and should be looked into. Why drag out the process and tell employees something if it won't change. Isn't it better to be straight with employees so they can look elsewhere for a career. Workers commited to a 10% cut that they will probably never see again. It's a crime but Corner Brook as a city should be ashamed not just with the mill job losses but the ways that are set here. Oppotunities are very limited for new businesses and the youth. This city had become old fashioned and set in there ways. The residents should be ashamed to have voted in such poor council members in the last two elections. Wonderful we have a new city hall but yet there are so many little business closing their doors because people won't support them, there is not a sensible youth center here with activities for all ages nor a movie theatre worth paying for and the list can go on and one. It's a shame but if the mill cuts more and more jobs and eventually closes or minimizes operations to the smallest they can function what will become of this city? I guess people will end up in Lab West where the booming industry is. There are more things there to offer young families than in this city. I guess we will have to wait and see when Kruger decidesto make an announcement.

  • Shame on you
    January 22, 2012 - 21:53

    First of all I would like to say I'm very disappointed with this article posted by Mr. Gary Kean. In the past you have provided us with great reporting and reliable information. However for you to write this kind of garbage fuelled solely on rumours and speculation is terrible to say the least. You should be lucky that the company or unions in question don't take you to court for false reporting. Next to all the haters out there, whom are so quick to grind their axes. Its not our fault your mill closed or you didn't get a job a CBPP, so quit taking it out on your neighbours. For a province that is known for its hospitality, its sad to see how quick some are to turn on their own. Finally, for those of you who live away, I live here and roll with the punches because I choose to. I have had and still have chances for camp jobs as well as jobs in Labrador (with IOC). So stop with all the nonsense of being able to make the cut, we already made the cut and we choose to come home to our families every night. I trust most everyone else in the world would choose the same. I buy local, supporting our local economy, also I support local events and volunteer. Who are you to judge me based on an inaccurate article? In summary, the writer and publisher of this article should be taken to task. As for the rest of you, shame on you for kicking someone when they're down. You should show some compassion for your fellow Newfoundlanders, after all marble mountain and the rest of our economy is not fuelled by your two weeks vacation a year. It thrives off the backs on us who do work here.

  • Bill
    January 22, 2012 - 15:30

    ".......The Western Star was unable to confirm anything with the paper company, its parent company Kruger in Montreal, the local unions or the provincial government...." If the WStar couldn't confirm anything, why would they risk running such a negative-interest story?! This is journalism at its worst, and truly shows how low the publisher (Burden) and reporter (Kean) will go for a gossip-driven trash-talking front page story. If the story is unfounded, then appologies and resignations are warranted! Shame on the Western Star!!

  • about time
    January 22, 2012 - 12:46

    it is very true there is lots of work for hard working skilled workers in Lab West, but my opinion that only 1 out of 10 from the mill would make the cut. let her slam shut best thing that ever happened to stephenville.

  • Roy Wheeler
    January 22, 2012 - 11:29

    the writings on the wall, the paper industry is finished, i haven't bought a newspaper or magazine in years , everything is available on line, and computers are so cheep now everyone has one.

    • b.j.
      January 26, 2012 - 08:30

      That is the problem, we have an industry here in Corner Brook and you guys wont even support it! I dont really need the paper delivered, but alot of families in town rely on this industry, so I buy the paper to support them! Do you know someone who works at the mill?? Im sure you do, so why not at least get a paper subscription to try and help them out.

  • Labradorman
    January 21, 2012 - 18:37

    Lots of work in Labrador West and the businesses would welcome the skilled workers with open arms. My advise to the people getting laid off is to look west...Lab west!! Its still home and not a day flying and then some...juss sayin!

  • Millwright
    January 21, 2012 - 18:29

    I am currently employed at the mill and find it quite appalling that this article was approved for print. There has been no confirmation forwarded to the unions of any job losses and the so called source or sources are only repeating rumors. I thought news reporting was supposed to be legite and confirmed stories before they went to print. This is purely speculation without any regard to the families who are sitting home now wondering if they will have a job next week. Shame on the reporter, editor and the Western Star itself for reporting rumors not factual stories. Are you Newfoundland's version of the Enquirer? I will never buy one of your papers again.

    • George
      January 22, 2012 - 14:10

      I agree. Some reporters jump at, and wallow in misery, legit or rumered. That's just part of their jobs.

  • jake
    January 21, 2012 - 16:49

    Oh here we go again ! I guess we'll find out what all the fuss is about on Tuesday. According to La Presse the Trois Rivieres mill have received the 10% wage deferral back in December because they returned to profitibility. They had to suffer job loss though. Is it wishful thinking that we have done the same or is my head in the clouds? Only time will tell .

  • JR
    January 21, 2012 - 16:36

    Just a matter of time before the mill is shut down permanently!

  • Jay Greenlee
    January 21, 2012 - 13:42

    What kind of article is this... a "source" with no comment from anyone else. Poor attempt at journalism.

  • David
    January 21, 2012 - 12:44

    So when City council gets its iPads delivered, I'm sure they'll be able to reply ultra-quickly to citizens' inquiries about the complete lack of any strategy or preparation for the most obvious eventuality staring this city in the face for about 20 years. Perhaps they plan to offer janitor jobs for everyone who isn't already on a government payroll to scrape graffitti off the new City Hall (in return for everyone's taxes being doubled)! ..... But hey, at least everyone's house is worth $260, there's that.

    • David
      February 06, 2012 - 14:06

      Yes, you sure come across as highly educated, Vicki.

  • Take back the city
    January 21, 2012 - 07:28

    So, Joe Kruger asks for concessions from the union with a promise to give it back when they return to profit. The Provincial government gave 4.5 million last year, not to mention all of the other provincial monies given to them over the years. Now, just as things are looking good for Joe, he's going to turn around and eliminate 90 jobs before he'll have to pay them back for what he promised to return! Who is running this city anyway, Joe Kruger and his union busting lawyer from St. John's? The same lawyer that has been busting the City of Corner Brook's unions! Time for the residents to take back control or our beautiful city and take it out of the hands of the wizard of Oz from montreal and his union busting lawyer from St. John's! Bring back Danny and expropriate the mill and turn it over to the residents of Corner Brook and western newfoundland!

    • And kill industry in the process
      January 21, 2012 - 10:57

      If the government expropriates the mill, you can say good bye to any future development or operations in the province. So kill all future investment to save a dieting mill. Sounds good

    • David
      January 21, 2012 - 13:31

      The vanishing of the world market for pulp and paper is not Joe Kruger's fault. If a government is stupid enough to keep giving money to a dead business, its' not Joe Kruger's role to turn it down. If the electorate wants to tolerate their politicians buying their own jobs by using taxpayer money for such waste, it's not Joe Kruger's responsibility to tell voters the difference. And the comment that you would like to see Danny Williiams come back and perform the same insane, legal nightmare over again tells many things --- about doing business in Newfoundland, about the mentality of the local workforce, about the extremely unproductive dependence on government intervention, about the fundamental resentment of business here, and that it would be nothing short of masochistic and suicidal for anyone to do business and invest resources in this place in the future.

  • Jack
    January 21, 2012 - 07:22

    If Corner Brook doesn't start creating a better business climate and diversify their economy, this city could become a dead city, especially in the next five to ten years when they could lose the pulp and paper mill.

    • wayne anderson
      January 21, 2012 - 13:52

      they can give back the 19% it wont make a differences i know from experinces we did it at the mill we worked at and they still shut down

  • Jack
    January 21, 2012 - 07:19

    With the recent major job losses at two other major pulp and paper mills in the Atlantic Provinces, notably the NewPage mill in Port Hawkesbury, Nova Scotia and Abitibi-Bowater mill in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, the possible job losses in Corner Brook comes to no surprise. In light of the major job losses, I hope this news will be a major wakeup call for Mayor Neville Greeley, Councilor Leo Bruce, and other anti-business Corner Brook City Hall Council members to start have a more welcoming business climate instead of having an anti-business climate they exhibit now, especially after the Modular Home Plant and Teel Dance Hall controversies. In the meantime, the City of Corner Brook and Newfoundland and Labrador Government will have to start looking for a new pulp and paper operator, attract a cellulose ethanol plant, get Kruger to diversify their product line at the Corner Brook meaning going away from newsprint, and so on. If Mayor Greeley continues to be anti-business like he shows as of late, and Corner Brook doesn't diversify away from pulp and paper, Corner Brook could become a dead city or even go the way of Port Hawkesbury or Liverpool.

    • Big expectations Jack
      January 21, 2012 - 10:52

      You have pretty big expectations of the mayor. I guess he should also solve world hunger while he is at it. The mayor can do nothing to influence the decisions by Kruger. The sooner you realize that, the better off you will be. All the employees need to ban together and be willing to work with ethe company if they want to keep their jobs. And wheni say jobs I am not talking about 2012, I am talking about the future of the paper mill in corner brook. If he plant is not competitive the bigwigs in Montreal will simply close it down and liquidate the assets, then no one will have jobs and the corner brook economy wil collapse. Perhaps the mayor can also fix the global economy, you seem to expect everything else from him.